The Educational-Experiential Workshops Titled “Preservation of Mental Health of the Soldiers-Rescuers upon Participation in Crisis Interventions” held
During August and September 2014, within the implementation of the Project of provision of psycho-social support to the population affected by floods during May 2014, educational-experiential workshops have been held with topic “Preservation of mental health of soldiers-rescuers upon participation in crisis interventions”.
The workshop, intended for the professional military personnel, have had a goal to familiarize soldiers, assisting people affected by the floods and land-slides, with significance of mental health, pointing out issues that may occur as a consequence of exposure to stress and trauma, presentation of manners of coping with trauma and stress, types of help and self-help and strengthening capacities to fight stigma and discrimination related to mental disorders. The workshops themselves have been divided onto educational-informative part and experiential part. Within the educational-informative part an education has been held in order for soldiers-rescuers to become familiarized with basic terms of mental health with the purpose of prevention of the influence of stress on psychological and physical health.
The experiential part of the workshop enabled the participants to present their own experiences and possible difficulties they encounter during their professional engagement. Following the completion of the experiential workshop, the participants filled out an evaluation questionnaire, which has been analyzed. The analysis of the questionnaires shows that there is positive reaction of the participants regarding the content and topic of the workshop and that the workshop, to the most part, met their expectations. Many participants expressed need for more of such workshops with this and similar topics and greater engagement of psychologists within their working environment.
The workshops have been organized at following locations: 'Ante Bruno Busic' barracks in Livno, 'Bilećki borci' (Bilece Fighters) barracks in Bilece, '7 muslimanske brigade' (7th Muslim brigade) barracks in Zenica, 'Dubrave' barracks in Tuzla, 'Vojvode Stepe Stepanovica' barracks in Bijeljina, 'Kozara' barracks in Banja Luka, 'Sinovi Posavine' (Sons of Posavina) barracks in Orasje, 'Vojvode Ratomira Putnika' barracks in Doboj, and “Rajlovac” barracks in Sarajevo. These workshops covered 4th, 5th and 6th infantry brigade, logistics command and tactical support brigade.
The preparation and holding of the workshops has been a task of professional team of psychologists, engaged by the IOM, within the Project of provision of psycho-social support to the population affected by floods during May 2014, funded by USAID.