PIN conducts training for service providers

On the 28th of October 2016 PIN realized a training for facilitators of non-formal educational activities for refugee children in Serbia, with the support of UNICEF and Center for Education Policy. Participants of the training were representatives of Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, UNHCR and several national NGOs.

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PIN at the International conference Contemporary Migration and Social Development – Interdisciplinary perspective

On 22nd of October 2016 at Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, international conference Contemporary Migration and Social Development – Interdisciplinary perspective was held. PIN team presented research and activities conducted within ongoing projects.

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Based on the activities conducted within the project Making difference for Refugee Children in Europe which is supported by IRC and DFID, PIN’s staff presented preliminary data of qualitative research about the psychological needs and capacities of refugee children in Serbia.

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Additionally, PIN team presented challenges in education of refugee children and opened a discussion on potential solutions which would enable refugee children to participate in effective non-formal educational activities and their inclusion in Serbian educational system.

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During the section on Social-psychological dimensions of migrations and migrants, we presented data from the study funded by UNHCR in which we explored the relationships between traumatic experiences during transit and psychological vulnerability.

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Finally, the results of the study on secondary traumatization of people who work with refugees in Serbia which PIN members carried out in cooperation with IRC, initiated a fruitful discussion. Secondary traumatization of service providers was recognized as an important challenge which can be tackled by educational activities and psychological support for people who work directly with refugees on a daily bases.

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Secondary traumatization in service providers: Risk factors & the road to prevention

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PIN conducted the Round Table Discussion which took place in Rex Cultural Center on Tuesday 5th of July. Round Table Discussion theme was psychological support for service providers in Serbia, i.e. people working with refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants. All of them are on a daily basis faced with people who have experienced most terrifying human suffering, and as such exposed to secondary traumatization (ST).
ST comprises of typical trauma-related symptoms usually seen in trauma survivors suffering from PTSD, such as avoidance, negative mood and cognitions, hyperarousal and intrusions which lead to inability to successfully engage in daily job activities and everyday life.
The Round Table Discussion aim to stress importance of burn out and secondary traumatization prevention and initiate discussion about current practices and policies regarding Mental health of service providers among organizations involved in asylum matter in Serbia
On this occasion we also presented results of the first study regarding mental health of service providers in Serbia and prevention of secondary traumatization and burnout. The study aimed to gain initial insight into experiences of people working with refugees and to provide preliminary data on risk factors for ST in people working with refugees in Serbia. For more information follow this link.

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The study as well as all activities regarding psychological support for service providers was conducted within the project PIN is implementing in partnership and with the great support from International Rescue Committee (IRC) since January 2016th.

Big thank you to all the institutions and organizations who helped the realization of this project.

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PIN team participated in scientific conference Empirical studies in psychology 2016

Pin members took part in scientific conference Empirical studies in psychology 2016 – EIP16 in Belgrade. On this occasion PIN team presented results of a several studies conducted through different projects in recent times

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We presented Instrument for exploring refugees’ and asylum seekers’ traumatic experiences during transit constructed as part of the study on mental health of refugees and asylum seekers in Serbia, funded by UNHCR.

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Also, PIN members presented research on how people express their emotions through subtle changes in language use, and which aspects of language use can be indicative for accurately detecting ones
emotional state.

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First results about the successful application of technique for noninvasive neurorehabilitation of memory were presented. We discussed the potential of application such protocol in trauma, dementia, and gradual memory loss as a result of normal aging.

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Results of a study exploring decision making under uncertainty were presented. Study explored different cognitive factors and their impact on success in selecting and understanding cost-effective strategies when comes to this type of decision making.

Two papers presented at Fifth congress for psychotherapy in Belgrade

In October 2015th PIN presented two papers at Fifth congress for psychotherapy in Belgrade. First one – PTSD, depression and anxiety among refugees in Serbia – exploring mental health and psychological hardships refugees in Serbia are dealing with and second – Working condition and its implication on psychological techniques in working with refugees in Serbia – focused on how specific condition related to field work and cultural differences influence psychological techniques recommended for working with refugees.

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Presentation of study on mental health of asylum seekers in Serbia

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Download study → (PDF)

Belgrade, 15 June 2015 – UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) presented today the Study on Psychological Characteristics of Asylum-Seekers in Serbia.

From UNHCR website:

The objectives of the research were to gain insight into the psychological wellbeing of the asylum-seekers in Serbia with a special focus on refugees from Syria, and to develop recommendations for work with this vulnerable group. UNHCR is grateful to psychologists Danka Purić, Maša Vukčević and Jelena Dobrić for the good work they have done.

Introducing the study, Anne-Birgitte Krum-Hansen, head of Protection Unit, UNHCR Serbia noted the unprecedented number of displaced people worldwide in 2015 – more than 59 million. Krum-Hansen informed that UNHCR had initiated the study on the mental health of asylum-seekers in view of constantly increasing number of persons in need of international protection from “refugee producing countries” notably Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan using the Western Balkan route on their way to seek protection in Western Europe. According to the data of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, the number of persons expressing intent to seek asylum in Serbia has risen from 5,066 in 2013, 16,490 in 2014 to 22,148 in the first five months of 2015 only. The study offers recommendations, like how to overcome language and cultural barriers, how to gain trust and express acceptance that we hope will be of use to all the practitioners in their daily contacts with refugees.

The interviews that served as basis for the research were conducted with 250 asylum-seekers using the globally recognized instruments that measure post-traumatic stress disorder, levels of anxiety and depression, and the instrument for assessment of traumatic events in transit and in Serbia. It was found that 89% of asylum-seekers in Serbia suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 67% from anxiety and 77% from depression as a consequence of their experience in the countries of origin and in transit.

As expected, the primary countries of origin of refugees were Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan, followed by Eritrea, Sudan and Iraq. In all, 56% of the respondents travelled alone and 87% have left members of families in their countries.

A special part of the research was focused on the incidence of trafficking in human beings (THB) among the asylum-seekers, their awareness about it and whether they know whom to contact in case of need. 71% of them said they knew what THB is, and 70% that they had experienced or heard of someone who had experienced it. However, 57% did not know whom to contact. According to the findings as many as 58% of asylum-seekers had been exposed to some form of THB.

The study gives a thorough insight into the sources of trauma of asylum-seekers in their countries of origin that they had to flee, as well as of experiences with smugglers, police and the local population in the countries they had to transit until reaching Serbia.

Publishing it in the run-up to the World Refugee Day, 20 June, UNHCR hopes that all those colleagues in Government and civil society as well as other who work with refugees in Serbia will be able to make good use of the findings and recommendations of this study.