Mental Health

Join the Conversation

Tuesday, July 7th to Wednesday, September 30th

Please join us in an online, open forum on telehealth. NCB is providing an opportunity for clinicians to ask each other questions, share observations and adapted telehealth protocols for the SoT population via an online forum and technical exchange. This conversation will be a forum for peer-led informational exchange. NCB staff will assist in facilitating and monitoring the conversation.

Directions: Please watch Eugene Augusterfer’s presentation and interview Telemedicine in Mental Health first. Then feel free to join us in this open forum. All are welcome to join this forum, whether you have an account on Healtorture.org or not. For more information on using the forum, please read the directions on the first post. Please keep your comments respectful, relevant, factual, and do not share identifying information about clients per client privacy and HIPAA regulations. This forum will be open from July 6, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

New Information on the Neuroscience of PTSD & Depression: How It Affects Torture Treatment and Outcomes

Description

The brain is very sensitive to the environment. It responds to both internal and external environment, including trauma. The brain is capable of rapid physiological and affective changes, depending upon the heredity and stress (genes & environment). All of us who treat patients need to know how the brain interacts with our work. This information helps us in understanding how therapy affects the outcome and why medications act differently on various symptoms of PTSD and depression and need to be tailored to each individual.

Torture survivors: What to ask, how to document

Miles, Steven H; and Garcia-Peltoniemi, Rosa.

Excellent article for medical practitioners who may not realize that they are treating torture survivors with tips on how to proceed. "In this article, we propose an approach—based on studies that address cross-cultural issues or use multicenter, multivariate, meta-analytic methods—that can enable you to better identify survivors of torture, assess and document consequent morbidities, and refer them to appropriate treatment programs. We focus on individuals who were tortured months or years earlier rather than on recently traumatized patients."

Acupuncture for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial

This article, by Hollifield, Michael; Sinclair-Lian, Nityamo; Warner, Teddy D.; Hammerschlag, Richard, was published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Volume 195, Number 6 (June 2007). (Link is to full article.)

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the potential efficacy and acceptability of acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People diagnosed with PTSD were randomized to either an empirically developed acupuncture treatment (ACU), a group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or a wait-list control (WLC). The primary outcome measure was self-reported PTSD

The Treatment of Chronic Pain in Survivors of Torture and Refugee Trauma: an Integrative Approach

Webinar Summary and Resources

This webinar focuses on the potential alleviation of torture-induced chronic pain through alternative medicine and techniques. While the webinar is intended for medical professionals, it is accessible to a wider audience as well. After establishing that western conceptions both of pain and the necessity of pharmaceutical or surgical treatment are not universal, the webinar elaborates on a series of alternative medicines that have clinically and anecdotally been shown to be helpful.

Working with Chaldeans

The Chaldeans are Roman Catholics from Iraq, whose history predates that of Christ. They have been influential since the beginning of civilization in ancient Mesopotamia. Under the former regime of Saddam Hussein, religious freedom became constrained, resulting in ethnic cleansing and mass exodus from the region. Many Chaldeans reported the harsh conditions they faced in the transit states, especially the unavailability of employment opportunities.

Upon arrival in the United States, many face the same concern of employment, as well as other factors that can affect the acculturation

Refugee Trauma Survivors in the Primary Care Setting: A Collaborative Medical Mental-Health Approach

Objectives:

  • Describe somatic presentation of war based trauma in primary care
  • Describe the role of primary care providers in working with torture survivors
  • Identify a common clinical flow process that can be used to improve health outcomes and decrease pain
  • Create strategies for co-managing care with a mental health therapist

Summary: This webinar attempts to tackle the difficulties in working with refugees and victims of torture in the medical system in the United States.

Karen Refugees from Burma in the US: an Overview for Torture Treatment Programs

This webinar is meant to provide clinicians and health care workers with a base of knowledge in working with the Karen people from Burma. The presenters describe the history of the Karen and the Burma, as well as the torture and abuse they are likely to have faced in their homes, and/or refugee camps. Ms. Cook notes the importance placed on religion in the Karen community, affecting all aspects of life. When using an interpreter, it is important to understand the stigmas and associations placed on certain illnesses, especially mental illnesses.

Websites and articles referenced in the

Serving Survivors of Torture: Attending to Vicarious Trauma and Enhancing Vicarious Resilience

Literature Related to Vicarious Trauma

Comprehensive bibliography compiled by Beth Hudnall Stamm: Stamm, B.H. (2010, November). Comprehensive Bibliography Of The Effect Of Caring For Those Who Have Experienced Extremely Stressful Events and Suffering. www.proqol.org.

The National Center for PTSD’s PILOTS database is a great source for traumatic stress literature:https://vawnet.org/material/pilots-database

Baker EK. Caring for ourselves: A therapist’s guide to personal and professional well-being. Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association; 2003.

Figley CR (ed). Compassion fatigue:

Bhutanese in the U.S.: An Overview for Torture Treatment Programs

Summary

“Where is Bhutan, anyway?” asks Aaron Acharya. “This is a question I get all of the time.” As executive director of the Association for Bhutanese in America, former project coordinator at HealthRight International, and a citizen of Bhutan himself, Acharya is certainly qualified to answer this inquiry.

Yet his mission for this particular webinar extends beyond lessons in geography.

THI Part 3 of 3: Family and Patient Support: New Approaches to Fostering Dialogue and Hope

In the 1950's Dr. Ettinger and later in the 1980s Goldfeld and Mollica identified Traumatic Head Injury (THI)/leading to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as a common and severe sequelae of trauma and other forms of external violence. THI/TBI is now likely recognized as the signature injury in American combat troops returning from the wars in the Middle East. Yet THI/TBI related to medical and psychiatric problems are difficult to diagnose and treat even in specialized clinics for survivors of torture and combat veterans.

Don't miss the other two parts of this webinar series!

History and Evidence

Investigating and Prosecuting Human Rights Violators and War Criminals: A Collaborative Approach

Anne Marie Brennan attempts to clarify the goals of the U.S.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to deny safe havens in the U.S. to human rights violators, torturers, and war criminals, as well as preventing them from entering in the first place. In 2009, they developed a program called the Human Rights Fusion Centers across the country to interview refugees and survivors of torture in the hopes of removing criminals from local communities. The presenter highlights successful case studies of war criminals being extradited to face justice in the home countries.

Caveat: 

While

THI Part 2 of 3: Screening for Traumatic Head Injury in a Basic Clinic Setting

Don't miss the other two parts of this webinar series!

History and Evidence of Traumatic Head Injury (THI): Basic Concepts and Principles in the Care of Torture Survivors with THI (THI Part 1 of 3)

Family and Patient Support: New Approaches to Fostering Dialogue and Hope (THI Part 3 of 3)

In the 1950's Dr. Ettinger and later in the 1980s Goldfeld and Mollica identified Traumatic Head Injury (THI)/leading to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as a common and severe sequelae of trauma and other forms of external violence.

Rethinking Torture Trauma: In Search of Indigenous Coping Strategies

This webinar confronts issues that health care providers must face when working with members of indigenous populations from around the world. Because western medical practices are not common to these groups of people, they are often wary of treatments. Dr. Elzbieta Gozdziak suggests that providers become educated on the traditions and cultures of their patients, to better accustom the patients to the ways of western treatments. Understanding the patient’s views on healing can lead to better outcomes.

THI Part 1 of 3: History and Evidence of Traumatic Head Injury (THI): Basic Concepts and Principles in the Care of Torture Survivors with THI

Don't miss the other two parts of this webinar series!

Screening for Traumatic Head Injury in a Basic Clinic Setting (THI Part 2 of 3)

Family and Patient Support: New Approaches to Fostering Dialogue and Hope (THI Part 3 of 3)

In the 1950's Dr. Ettinger and later in the 1980s Goldfeld and Mollica identified Traumatic Head Injury (THI)/leading to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as a common and severe sequelae of trauma and other forms of external violence. THI/TBI is now likely recognized as the signature injury in American combat troops returning from the wars in the Middle East.

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