• A comparison of narrative exposure therapy, supportive counseling, and psychoeducation for treating posttraumatic stress disorder in an african refugee settlement.

      Neuner, F; Schauer, M; Klaschik, C; Karunakara, U; Elbert, T; Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany. frank.neuner@uni-konstanz.de (2004-08)
      Little is known about the usefulness of psychotherapeutic approaches for traumatized refugees who continue to live in dangerous conditions. Narrative exposure therapy (NET) is a short-term approach based on cognitive-behavioral therapy and testimony therapy. The efficacy of narrative exposure therapy was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial. Sudanese refugees living in a Ugandan refugee settlement (N = 43) who were diagnosed as suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) either received 4 sessions of NET, 4 sessions of supportive counseling (SC), or psychoeducation (PE) completed in 1 session. One year after treatment, only 29% of the NET participants but 79% of the SC group and 80% of the PE group still fulfilled PTSD criteria. These results indicate that NET is a promising approach for the treatment of PTSD for refugees living in unsafe conditions.
    • The efficacy of a mental health program in Bosnia-Herzegovina: impact on coping and general health.

      Mooren, T T M; de Jong, K; Kleber, R J; Ruvic, J; De Vonk, Centrum '45, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands. T.Mooren@Centrum45.nl (Wiley-Blackwell, 2003-01)
      The efficacy of a community-based psychosocial program in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war and immediate postwar years (1994-1999) was described in this article. Ten centers provided various kinds of psychological help in the besieged city of Sarajevo and the towns of Zenica, Travnik, and Vitez. Since 1994, an intensive monitoring system has documented data on clients, interventions, and outcomes. This study focused on the systematic evaluation of counseling interventions aimed to alleviate the distress in wartime. The sample consisted of 3,283 and 1,785 inhabitants of Sarajevo, Zenica, Travnik, and Vitez who filled out the GHQ-28 and IES respectively. Pre- and post-assessments were compared throughout consecutive years (1994-1999) and across age groups and both sexes. Outcomes of these scales reflected very high scores, especially among people between 30 and 40 years of age. Furthermore, intake scores increased in time rather than decreased. Differences between pre- and postmeasurements are highly significant--throughout the years. Analyses revealed substantial proportions of clinically recovered or generally improved individual functioning, although some clients revealed no improvement.
    • Mental health in HIV-positive pregnant women: results from Angola.

      Bernatsky, S; Souza, R; de Jong, K; McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. sasha.bernatsky@mail.mcgill.ca (Taylor & Francis, 2007-05)
      Our objective was to assess the mental health status of pregnant women who are HIV-positive, compared with other groups of pregnant women. We evaluated pregnant HIV-positive women attending the Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) HIV clinic in Malanje, Angola (N = 23). The control group consisted of pregnant women coming for antenatal clinic consultations who were not known to be HIV-positive (N=134). To assess mental health, the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) was used. A score of three or greater was considered to indicate significant emotional distress. We also examined determinants of emotional distress in logistic multivariate regression models. We found that the mean score on the GHQ-12 for the HIV-positive group was more than twice the mean score of the controls, indicating poorer mental health in the HIV-positive group. Two-thirds of HIV-positive women had significant emotional distress, more than twice that in the control group. As well as HIV status, marital status was a strong independent predictor of mental health status, with married women experiencing less emotional distress. Thus, in our sample, pregnant women who were HIV-positive had a much poorer mental health status than the controls. Strategies to improve the mental health of HIV-positive mothers must be implemented and evaluated; efforts to decrease the levels of stigma and discrimination in this population are of key importance.
    • Mental Health Status of Vulnerable Tsunami-Affected Communities: A Survey in Aceh Province, Indonesia.

      Souza, R; Bernatsky, S; Reyes, R; de Jong, K; Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (2007-06)
      The authors determined the prevalence of severe emotional distress and depressive symptoms using the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist-25 (HSCL; Derogatis, Lipman, Rickels, Uhlenhuth, & Covi, 1974) in tsunami-affected communities that had experienced armed conflict arising from the ongoing independence movement in Aceh Province, Indonesia. We also evaluated determinants of severe emotional distress. The data were collected for the purposes of a mental health assessment. In our sample (N = 262), 83.6% demonstrated severe emotional distress, and 77.1% demonstrated depressive symptoms. In multivariate regression models, severe emotional distress was positively associated with the number of tsunami-related deaths among household members. Our data suggests a need for effective interventions in this vulnerable population.
    • Physical and Sexual Violence, Mental Health indicators, and treatment seeking among street-based population groups in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

      Rio Navarro, J; Cohen, J; Rocillo Arechaga, E; Zuniga, E; Médecins Sans Frontières, México DF, México. javier.rio.navarro@geneva.msf.org (2012-05-01)
      To establish the prevalence of exposure to physical and sexual violence, mental health symptoms, and medical treatment-seeking behavior among three street-based subpopulation groups in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and to assess the association between sociodemographic group, mental health indicators, and exposure to violence.
    • The Prevalence of Mental Health Problems in Rwandan and Burundese Refugee Camps

      de Jong, J; Scholte, W F; Koeter, M W; Hart, A A; Médecins Sans Frontières, Holland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (2000-09)
      OBJECTIVE: We examined the prevalence of mental health problems in refugees living in camps that emerged in Tanzania during the Rwanda crisis that started in 1994. METHOD: Using the 28-item version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28), we examined two samples: a random sample (n = 854) and a sample of clients of a psychosocial support programme in these camps (n = 23). Sensitivity, specificity and positive- and negative predictive values were estimated for several cut-off scores of the GHQ-28. RESULTS: The prevalence of serious mental health problems was estimated at 50% (SE 12%). When using the GHQ-28 as a screener, a cut-off score of 14 is recommended. CONCLUSION: Given the high prevalence of mental health problems, psychosocial programmes for large refugee populations should aim at strengthening community structures and supporting groups instead of focusing at individuals. The screening capacity of the GHQ-28 could be used to identify mentally vulnerable groups.
    • Psychological trauma and evidence for enhanced vulnerability for posttraumatic stress disorder through previous trauma among West Nile refugees.

      Neuner, F; Schauer, M; Karunakara, U; Klaschik, C; Robert, C; Elbert, T; Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz and Center for Psychiatry Reichenau, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany. Frank.Neuner@Uni-Konstanz.de (2004)
      BACKGROUND: Political instability and the civil war in Southern Sudan have resulted in numerous atrocities, mass violence, and forced migration for vast parts of the civilian population in the West Nile region. High exposure to traumatic experiences has been particularly prominent in the Ugandan and Sudanese of the West Nile Region, representing an indication of the psychological strain posed by years of armed conflict. METHODS: In this study the impact of traumatic events on the prevalence and severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a random sample of 3.339 Ugandan nationals, Sudanese nationals, and Sudanese refugees (1.831 households) of the West Nile region is assessed. RESULTS: Results show a positive correlation between the number of traumatic events and the number of endorsed PTSD symptoms. Of the 58 respondents who experienced the greatest number of traumatizing experiences, all reported symptoms which met the DSM-IV criteria for PTSD. CONCLUSIONS: There is a clear dose-effect relationship between traumatic exposure and PTSD in the studied populations with high levels of traumatic events. In this context, it is probable that any individual could develop PTSD regardless of other risk-factors once the trauma load reaches a certain threshold.