JoinTheNet - PTSD
- JOIN-THE-NET III – Dissemination of material for education and training on health symptoms caused by violence (PTSD)
- JoinTheNet IV – Dissemination of material for education and training on health symptoms caused by violence (PTSD)
The project was coordinated by the Therapeutische Frauenberatung e.V. NGO based in Goetingen, Germany. Several Future Worlds Center scientists served as Project Coordinators at different times, including:
The Cyprus team has organized 10 workshops during * JoinTheNet IV. The total number of participants was 58. All workshops tool place in the capital city of Nicosia. The target population was mainly either professional social workers or social work students. Participants were coming from governmental institutions (including the Mental Health Team of the Prison Service and the Psychiatric Unit of Makarios Hospital in Nicosia) and non-governmental institutions (including professionals who work in different projects of CNTI and professionals who work permanently or voluntarily in the Association Against Domestic Violence).
More specifically, there was an initial Pilot group where Ms. Georgia Nathanael participated as a trainee of Ms Tonia Loizidou. That was a multidisciplinary group that has as a target to identify possible future difficulties. After that Georgia Nathanael and Mary Ioannou repeated the workshops nine more times as follows:
- Social Work Students from the European University of Cyprus who are completing their practical training in the CNTI.
- Social Work Students who study at the second year (European University of Cyprus)
- Social Workers who work for different organizations (Cofinou Accommodation Center- Admission Center for refugees in Cyprus and for the UNHCR project)
- Social Workers who work for the Welfare Services.
- The Employees and the Volunteers of the Association against Domestic Violence)
- Mental Health Department of the Prison Service.
- Psychiatric Unit for Children in Makarios Public Hospital (the professionals who participated here were Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatric Nurses, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Therapists)
- Psychologists who are members of the Pan-Cyprian Association of Psychologists.
- Police Officers who work in the Health Department of the Prison.
From the team's experience the participants considered the presentation as very relevant to the job they are doing but in many cases asking for more specialized information. Especially in our organizational level, we created a basis of common understanding regarding the obtained knowledge of PTSD and Women. We faced some difficulties regarding Psychologists’ groups mainly do to the fact that had a different opinion regarding the actual connection between the PTSD disorder and the material used (mainly the DVD) to present this topic. They expressed the view that there is an issue around PTSD in general and women suffering from PTSD.
Important target groups in Cyprus
We decided about our target groups having in mind the main group of women and men we are susceptible to develop the symptoms of PTSD. Some of these people are: Women who are victims of sexual harassment or violence from family members and are asking for help, women who have experienced a violent episode and report it to the police, women and men who were living a risky life and are currently in the prison. People who had been victims of torture or have experienced war situations in their country of origin. Based on the above we formulated the target groups to approach the professionals who may come into contact with those people (and mainly women). Hence, we communicated with the police force (and most specifically the officers from the local police stations where anybody from the area of residence can go and report a violent incidence. We approached two Colleges in Nicosia that offer courses in Social Work (one of which is recognised from the Ministry of Education in Cyprus), to offer the presentation to the students of these courses. We made contact with the Welfare Office in Nicosia, and also with the Association for Domestic Violence. Another relevant target group are the officers who work in the prison and the mental health experts who also work there. Finally we had as a target group the workers and the volunteers of the Unit of Rehabilitation for the Victims of Torture and the workers and volunteers of the UNHCR project “Strengthening Asylum Seekers in Cyprus”.
Wherever it was possible we used personal relationships with people who work in the different organisations. In other cases we had to go through the official procedure, which takes a lot of time. We had a negative answer from the Welfare Office and we are still waiting for some answers (police and prison’s government).
E-mails, official letters, and personal meetings whenever needed have announced the meetings. We used all the connections that we have as an organization to approach relevant services, professionals and volunteers. E-mails were sent to all the students of Social Work classes at Intercollege and we established contact with two academic professional of Frederick (again for the Social Work students). We had an official meeting with the director of Educational Training for the Police. We announced the meetings to the staff members of the two Units that work under Future Words Centre and we communicated with the prison authorities to see how we can collaborate.
Advantages for Cyprus
We do believe that this whole process was very beneficiary for our organisation and that was mainly for two reasons. Firstly, because we worked very closely with the volunteers of the organisation and we integrated them in the philosophy and the practical application of the project. This involvement was very useful both for them and for us. As an organisation we do now have the experience of reinforcing the volunteers and trainees participation to our activities. Secondly, we expanded the network of collaboration that we already have with relevant services. We strongly believe that the services that liaised with as for the seminars were very pleased for having done this. The standard of the presentations and discussions were of a very professional and scientific level and always adjusted to the workload, the needs and the expectations of each different environment. This is very important for us setting the foundations for future liaison.
We are planning to go on using the materials due to the fact that some of the organisations/services that we contacted can arrange the workshops with their employees only after March. So we plan to have some meetings even after we come back from the conference at Budapest.
The project can have a significant contribution to the quality improvement of the services that work with victims of sexual harassment, violence, and torture. It can be beneficial to anyone who deals with the clients of the social services here in Cyprus and wants to do it in a professional way. Becoming more familiar with the Post Dramatic Stress Disorder can be very crucial when working with people who are claiming political asylum in Cyprus, and this for all the legal, social and psychological effects that can have in their life when proved to experience PTSD. We, as an organisation deal with Asylum seekers in Cyprus and also with victims of torture that is why we consider this project a unique opportunity to combine our experience with this knowledge, make the cohesion of the organisation stronger building common understanding of this issue between the staff members, and last but not least bringing into action one of our future goals to show more emphasis on women’s issues, encouraging initiatives that sensitise public and professional around these matters. We believe that we had a very satisfying collaboration so far and we are looking forward to see you in Budapest and ensure our interest for future collaboration.
JoinTheNet II disseminated the results from two previous Daphne projects called HelpTheHelper and JoinTheNet I. The aim was to enable the target group of social workers, medical staff, advisors, public authorities to identify relevant symptoms of PTSD and to provide competent advice to victims. This objective was to be achieved through specialised trainings designed and evaluated under the former projects. Material (DVD, CD-ROM) and concept was translated into Portuguese, Danish, Estonian, lists of helping institutions in every partner country were added. TrainTheTrainer workshops with all partners took place in every country. The final conference dealt with the further implementation in every country on regional, national level and last but not least on european level.
Links with the past:
- 2000 IRIS Violence and disabled women (P-Iniciativas y Estudios Sociales Coruna, Spanien) 99/268/W (1998-268);
- 2002 HELP-THE-HELPER (C) 02/177/WY (2002-177);
- 2002 DATAV - Dissemination Action Teenagers Against Violence (P-WOW-WOMEN ON WORK ONLUS, Italien) 02/215/Y (2002-215);
- 2003 Join-The-Net (C) 03/108/WY (2003-108);
- 2003 AWARE II (P-University Oulu, Finland) DAP/03/126/WYC (2003-126)