Ireland is poised to open its doors to perhaps 100,000 refugees from Ukraine. A generous humanitarian and fast response. The Irish nation is compassionate.
Generosity is good. More is needed. As well as shelter, food and clothing, we must provide fast psychological assistance.
Without prompt psychological first aid, these women and children will continue to suffer with varying degrees of psychological trauma. Many more will develop trauma symptoms in the next month or so.
It is crucial that Ireland develops the ability to provide appropriate and fast services to this group.
Many will be highly traumatised.
A high proportion of children will already enter Ireland presenting with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety. The sights, smells and sounds they have been exposed to will be reverberating through their psychological systems. Early intervention has never been more crucial.
This intervention must be timely and correct. It should be provided by clinicians trained in dealing with the aftermath of psychological trauma.
Ireland needs psychological triage centres to be established at the ports and points of entry. Early screening for acute stress disorder (ASD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD) is vital. This may be carried out quickly and expertly. It is every bit as important as shelter and food.
It is crucial that volunteers are trained to provide psychological first aid, (PFA) to refugees to achieve this. Following a short training scheme competent volunteers would be able to provide an initial screening of ‘at risk’ individuals. Those deemed at risk could be referred to a team of clinicians who could offer professional services through established professional hubs in communities.
This is vital to improve the long term outcome for these poor, besieged and uprooted people.