Lesvos- Psychological First Aid

Status: Completed

Start day: 2015   End day: 2017

Funded by: Private Donors

Location: Lesvos, Greece

About the Project

We started operations in Lesvos, Greece in 2015. Dividing the majority of our time between administering Psychological First Aid (PFA) on shorelines, ports, and onboard rescue boats, and providing more comprehensive mental health interventions at refugee camps and hospitals.

In addition to direct mental health initiatives in Lesvos, we also launched tailored activities geared towards empowering refugees and equipping them with the tools and skills needed to surpass the trauma they endured.

Our activities and projects are described in greater detail below:

  • New Baby Project: The bond between a mother and child is a crucial component in the overall mental health of a family. This is especially true in crisis situations. In order to improve the bonding and early attachment between newborn babies and their mothers, we provided customized baby baskets containing clean baby bottles and clothes, as well as guidance on strengthening the newborn baby- mother bonding during exceptional circumstances.
  • Daily Activities: Recognizing that trauma is multi-faceted and that it affects the individual, family, and community at different levels and in distinct ways, we focused on activities that targeted interventions at each stage: children activities, family activities, group sessions, and community activities.
  • Mytilene Hospital: Following the timely identification of vulnerable cases, we assisted doctors and hospital staff by providing psychosocial support to refugees going through medical procedures, and by acting as cultural mediators and translators.
  • Shorelines and Ports: We assembled on the shorelines and ports of Lesvos providing Psychological First Aid (PFA) to all refugees who landed, reassuring them of their safety, and addressing any concerns, in order to bring to them a sense of stability and security.
  • Rescue Boats: Focused on two main steps: Psychological First Aid (PFA), and a second more comprehensive intervention, our mental health treatments onboard rescue boats began mid-sea and continued until the refugees arrived safely to the shores, where our team on-ground would receive them. This work was conducted through our partnership with Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish organization of lifeguards that operate rescue vessels.
  • PIKPA Camp: PIKPA Camp is a self-organized, autonomous space run by volunteers, and built on the principles of solidarity. We referred the most critical cases to PIKPA Camp and assisted in providing mental health interventions and psychosocial support.
  • Moria Camp and Kara Tepe Camp: Moria Camp and Kara Tepe Camp are two of the largest refugee camps in Lesvos. We offered services of Psychological First Aid (PFA) and emergency intervention upon request, being called almost daily to provide aid.