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Online Workshop

Friday 5 March  1.30pm - 5.00pm (GMT)
'Developing a university module on resilience, wellbeing and mental health support in crisis settings'​


​Developing a university module on resilience, wellbeing and mental health support in crisis settings  ​

The nature of humanitarian work is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. Humanitarian workers are often required to work in challenging conditions with no privacy, personal space or psychosocial support. Aid workers often suffer from stress, anxiety and depression, and are fearful of talking about their mental health issues. It is believed that there is a mental health crisis amongst aid workers but no clear system has been set up to provide mental health and wellbeing support. 

This workshop provides an opportunity for students to learn about wellbeing and mental health in the humanitarian sector. The participants will be invited to take part in a brainstorming process with mental health experts in order to establish the main principles and components of a new university module on resilience, wellbeing and mental health support in crisis settings.

The workshop will cover:
- the current state of mental health and wellbeing in the humanitarian sector 
- mental health and resilience of aid workers 
- wellbeing policies
Karen Abbs, Staff Wellbeing & Safeguarding Specialist.
Karen has worked in the humanitarian and development sectors for over 17 years as a staff wellbeing, safeguarding and MHPSS specialist. She has been a practicing therapist for over 20 years, specialising in trauma and critical incident support. Karen has also been a Mental Health Advisor for Médecins Sans Frontières and The Centre for Victims of Torture. 

Hitendra Solanki, Mindfulness & Wellbeing Adviser.
Hitendra is Senior Lecturer on the MSc Development Studies at London South Bank University and the Mindfulness & Wellbeing Adviser for Action Against Hunger UK. Hitendra has been active in the development and humanitarian sector for over 16 years. 

Dr. Gemma Houldey, Wellbeing Advisor and Facilitator for Aid Sector Professionals and Change-Makers. 
Gemma provides support to aid and development organisations to be more compassionate, caring and inclusive. Drawing on 15 years of work within the sector, and seminal and cutting edge doctoral research, she offers research, workshops and wellbeing practices aimed at transforming working environments and our capacities as change-makers.

Rhonda Riachi, Development Officer, Oxford Centre for Spirituality & Wellbeing. 
Rhonda is a researcher and teacher in Adult Education, and was the Director of the Association for Learning Technology for 14 years.  For the past 5 years Rhonda has managed projects in education for dementia care, long term conditions, and end of life care, and manages the person-centred care newsletter for HEE Thames Valley.

Aela Callan, Co-founder of Head Set.
Head set is a company using immersive technology to build a more resilient generation of journalists and humanitarian aid workers. Her work as a journalist and documentary filmmaker for 20 years won her a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University, A New York Festivals Gold award for humanitarian issues and the Jane Croly Cunningham prize for excellence covering issues of concern to women. 

The workshop will be facilitated by Professor Cathrine Brun and Martina Adamcikova. 

Martina Adamcikova, Associate Lecturer, Policy Advisor.
Martina has master’s degrees in Emergency Practice and Development, and also in Mass Media Communication, Philosophy and Media. Her undergraduate thesis on marketing and human rights was awarded the Oxford University Press Baines, Fill & Page Marketing Prize. For her postgraduate thesis, Martina carried out research in the Philippines, evaluating the Wellbeing cluster project and researching the mental health of aid workers. 

Professor Cathrine Brun, Director of the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice.
​Cathrine is the director of the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) and a human geographer interested in the ethics and politics of humanitarianism in protracted crises. With more than 25 years of experience with fieldwork, her work has largely concentrated on different experiences of protracted displacement and its humanitarian response. 

The workshop is organised by the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) and Oxford Human Rights Festival.
Picture source : Pricilla de Preez (left) Cathrine Brun (right).

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