Strengthening individuals and communities is the core element of psychosocial support programmes. Psychosocial support programmes take into consideration resources and strengths of individuals and communities and respect their independence and dignity in overcoming crisis situations. Psychosocial support enhances resilience, empowers people to overcome crisis situations, recover from them and be more prepared to face them in future. Therefore it is necessary to ensure that programmes are adapted for concrete situations, to take into consideration local needs and have adequate attitude towards the resources and the culture. The term “psychosocial” describes the dynamic relationship between psychological and social effects of the crisis situation. These two dimensions are closely related:
- Psychological dimensions are: internal, emotional and thought processes, feelings and reactions
- Social dimensions are: relationship, family networks and community networks, social values and cultural habits
The objective of psychosocial support is in the first place to ensure wellbeing of an individual, a family and a community and to alleviate the consequences of a crisis event, to facilitate the recovery process and prevent or minimise potential negative psychological effects. It is directed at every person affected by crisis event and who can not overcome the painful or stressful situation on their own.
Psychosocial support helps people recover after a crisis affecting their lives. The Red Cross psychosocial support interventions target whole communities and are directed at enhancing social ties of people in the communities affected by crisis by increasing the psychosocial wellbeing of individuals and communities. Psychosocial support may be needed in situations when a crisis event, such as flooding or a building falling down, had a strong impact on a community. It may also be needed to decrease the negative effects of a chronical crisis situation. This situation may be an ongoing armed conflict, economic crisis, or abuse and violence that negatively affect people’s wellbeing.
The Red Cross of Serbia works on developing its Psychosocial Support programme in accordance with the WHO’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. As is the case with other areas of its work, the Red Cross of Serbia’s Psychosocial Support activities are implemented in accordance with the Law on Red Cross and the applicable international standards.