Mental health and psychosocial support for families of missing persons in Sri Lanka : a retrospective cohort study
Host item entries:
Conflict and health, 14:16, 2020, 15 p.
Ida Andersen, Bhava Poudyal, Arundathi Abeypala, Carla Uriarte and Rodolfo Rossi
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The ICRC has developed its 'accompaniment model' to address the multi-faceted needs of relatives of people who go missing during armed conflict. In Sri Lanka an accompaniment programme was launched in 2015 for the relatives of the more than 16,000 missing persons who remain unaccounted for. For this study, 1'783 relatives who took part in the mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) component of the ICRC's accompaniment programme in Sri Lanka between April 2016 and August 2017 were offered eight peer-support group sessions, individual home visits, referrals to local services, and commemoration events to pay tribute to their missing relatives. Symptoms of anxiety and depression (using the HADS scale), somatic difficulties (using the BSI scale) and daily functioning (ICRC scale) were assessed before and after the MHPSS intervention. After receiving support, the vast majority of the relatives of missing persons showed reduced levels of anxiety (81%), depression (79%) and somatic pain (77%), as well as increased functioning (75%).