Background: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, health care providers and practitioners working in gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response faced myriad challenges in their work supporting GBV survivors, including limited resources, unsafe working conditions, and the toll this work can take on their personal mental health and well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded these issues. Studies indicate that advocates and responders who receive coworker support and clinical supervision are less likely to suffer secondary traumatic stress, underscoring the importance of social and professional support systems for providers responding to violence and trauma.
View event materials below:
- Event recording
- Presentation: Nour Al Mousawi, GBV Coordinator, MHChB , MS Health Policy and Management, Iraq Health Access Organization
- Presentation: Chinyere Eyoh, Executive Director, Sexual Offences Awareness and Response (SOAR) Initiative
- Presentation: Paula Ramírez, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Consultant, GBV AoR
Event Overview: To highlight the ongoing well-being needs of frontline health care and reproductive health providers working to prevent and respond to GBV, the IGWG’s GBV Task Force held a virtual event on July 29, 2021, to explore mental health self-care and resiliency. The event was an opportunity for health care providers and practitioners working to prevent and respond to GBV, and those that support them, to exchange knowledge, share their experiences about coping with the stress and negative mental health and well-being outcomes of the pandemic, learn more about the challenges providers and implementers experience, and identify ways to better support their mental health and overall well-being.
The wellness specialist from the GBV Area of Responsibility (AoR) and others working in GBV prevention and response shared insights on common stressors experienced by health care providers and implementers working to prevent and respond to GBV, exchanged best practices to support staff wellness, and heard from IGWG members and friends on how they can support staff to cope with the unrelenting challenges of working in GBV, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were also guided through a mindfulness session to model a stress-relief technique.