The Psychosocial Aspects of a Deadly Epidemic: What Ebola Has Taught Us about Holistic Healing

The Psychosocial Aspects of a Deadly Epidemic: What Ebola Has Taught Us about Holistic Healing

by Judy Kuriansky


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The Psychosocial Aspects of a Deadly Epidemic: What Ebola Has Taught Us about Holistic Healing by Judy Kuriansky

Edited by a clinical psychologist who has been on the ground helping to develop psychosocial support for Ebola survivors in one of the hardest-hit regions of West Africa, this book explains the devastating emotional aspects of the epidemic and its impact on survivors and the population in West Africa, families in the diaspora, and people in the United States and other countries. It also describes lessons learned from past epidemics like HIV/AIDS and SARS, and valuable approaches to healing from future epidemics.

• Addresses the various myths and resulting psychological, social, and economic harm caused by Ebola

• Presents models of psychosocial support and help offered by local as well as international aid organizations

• Covers efforts to build the mental health infrastructure of the affected countries, revealing the importance of integrating mental health care into primary health care

• Explains government and media responses to the Ebola epidemic

• Supplies critically important information for psychologists and mental health workers, health professionals of all disciplines, public health students, government officials, policymakers, and all individuals and groups interested in providing psychosocial support

• Includes a foreword by an important official and endorsements by other significant stakeholders in the fight against Ebola

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440842306
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/31/2016
Pages: 428
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Judy Kuriansky, PhD, is an internationally known clinical psychologist, fellow of the American Psychological Association, United Nations NGO representative, and chair of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs accredited at the United Nations.

Table of Contents

Foreword: For the Betterment of All Ambassador Angela Antonio Toriello xv

Acknowledgments xix

1 Introduction: From Awareness to Action: Psychosocial Support, Holistic Healing, and Lessons Learned in the Fight against Ebola and Other Epidemics Judy Kuriansky 1

Part I Models and Principles of Psychosocial Support and Holistic Healing 31

2 A Model for Psychosocial Support in Emergency Epidemics: An Adjunct to Existing Guidelines Based on Testimonies from Locals and Responders Carmen Valle 33

3 Holistic Intervention: A Community Association for Psychosocial Services Facing Ebola in Sierra Leone Edward Backarie 43

4 Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for Children in the Ebola Epidemic: UNICEF Child Protection Susan Lynn Bissell 51

5 Women in the Ebola Crisis: Response and Recommendations from UN Women Daniel Seymour 55

6 Cultural Competence in the Time of Ebola Mohammed A. Nurhussein 63

Part II Effects of the Epidemic on the People 73

7 Survivors of Ebola: A Psychosocial Shift from Stigma to Hero Judy Kuriansky Mariama Jalloh 75

8 The Impact and Trauma for Healthcare Workers Facing the Ebola Epidemic Nira Shah Judy Kuriansky 91

9 Poverty and Economics in the Wake of Ebola: An Escalated Strain on Psychosocial Coping Sarah Netter Judy Kuriansky 111

10 Tears That Never Dry. Personal Observations about the Emotional Tragedy of the Ebola Epidemic and Lessons Learned Joseph Jimmy Sankaituah 119

11 Ebola: Our Story Sosthéne Nsimba Ritah Nyembo 129

12 Children, Orphans, and Young Mothers Facing the Ebola Epidemic: One Liberian Woman's Efforts to Help MocDella Cooper 133

13 The Diaspora Reacts to the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone and West Africa: Emotions and Actions Morlai Kamara 141

14 Thrust into the Spotlight: Liberian Immigrants Dealing with Ebola and Other Stigmas Bernadette Ludwig 149

Part III Programs and Approaches to Help 165

15 Psychosocial Care for Ebola Patients: The Response of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontieres Ella Watson-Stryker 167

16 Children and Ebola: A Model Resilience and Empowerment Training and Workshop Judy Kuriansky Yotam Polizer Joel C. Zinsou 175

17 Supporting a Public Education Response to Stem the Panic and Spread of Ebola: Help for the National Ebola Helpline Operators Diddy Mymin Kahn Jeffrey Bulanda Yeniva Sisay-Sogbeh 215

18 Psychosocial Support for a Burial Team: Gender Issues and Help for Young Men Helping Their Country Judy Kuriansky 233

19 Psychological Trauma as a Fundamental Factor Hindering Containment of the Ebola Virus: Workshops for Professionals and Paraprofessionals Sheri Oz 243

Part IV Lessons Learned from Other Epidemics

20 Combating Stigma and Fear: Applying Psychosocial Lessons Learned from the HIV Epidemic and SARS to the Current Ebola Crisis Miriam Y. Vega 271

21 The Psychosocial and Interpersonal Impact of the SARS Epidemic on Chinese Health Professionals: Implications for Epidemics Including Ebola Kit Ling Chan Wai Wai Chau Judy Kuriansky Emily A. A. Dow Joel C. Zinsou Janet Leung Sookyong Kim 287

Part V Public Awareness, International Response, and Policy Recommendations

22 Combating Ebola through Public Enlightenment and Concerted Government Action: The Case of Nigeria Cyprian Heen 325

23 Awareness and Education about Ebola through Public Health Campaigns Rebekah Ndinda Ngewa Judy Kuriansky 335

24 The UN Community, Civil Society, and Psychology NGOs Respond to Ebola: Partners in Action Judy Kuriansky 351

25 Integrating Psychosocial and Mental Health Principles into Policy and Planning for the Prevention and Management of Epidemics and Disasters Corann Okorodudu Judy Kuriansky 375

Epilogue: Building Back Better in Ebola-Free Times Judy Kuriansky 395

About the Editor 403

About the Contributors 405

Index 415

What People are Saying About This

Ted M. Alemayhu

"This is indeed a groundbreaking book! Globally respected Psychologist and a member of the US Doctors for Africa Advisory Board, Dr. Judy Kuriansky gives us a rare comprehensive insight into the extensive emotional aspects of epidemics, focusing on Ebola. As a professional of the highest caliber and a world-wide noted psychologist, an award-winning journalist and devoted humanitarian who has provided psycho-social support to people around the world, Dr. Kuriansky has put together a volume that should be read widely by professionals in all fields of educators, humanitarians, mental health experts, and scientists as well as policymakers and the public in general."

Dr. Timothy G. Evans

"This volume draws together an all-too-often overlooked set of perspectives related to mental health and psychosocial well-being in the context of health insecurity related to outbreak disease. In this extensive exploration of the stigma, fears, and distrust arising from the recent Ebola crisis in West Africa, Judy Kuriansky's indepth insights illuminate critical opportunities for more compassionate policy and programs to protect and support people faced with the risk and reality of pandemics."

His Excellency Ambassador Téte António

"An important and compelling insight into the human side of the epic tragedy of the 2014 Ebola outbreak and related pandemics of SARS and AIDS, that weaves poignant personal accounts, contributions from academics, UN agencies, and first responders, with Dr. Kuriansky's own experience and commendable mission on the ground to help during the outbreak. As I am well familiar with her extensive work advocating for mental health and well-being at the United Nations, this volume reflects her commitment to that issue and to Africa. The impressive combination of scholarship and humanitarianism confirm the critical value of psychosocial interventions, programmes, and policies for recovery and prevention of emotional trauma in any future disasters for Africa, the diaspora, and people worldwide."

Clara Doe Mvogo

"As a clinical psychologist myself, and Mayor of Monrovia, a West African city hit so hard by this epidemic, I am fully aware of the psychological impact. For this reason, I am particularly impressed with this volume my colleague Dr. Judy Kuriansky has put together, chronicling her own efforts and projects during and after the epidemic as well as perspectives and contributions by leading experts, and powerful accounts of people and communities who were, and still are, affected by this trauma. Protecting the mental health of our population as we recover is an important and crucial task. This book's chapters are all essential guides to how to achieve healing. Dr. Kuriansky has presented views from many important perspectives, including children, women, local and international responders, and stories from Ebola survivors, communities, policymakers, health officials, and others. Everyone involved with such crises needs to read this."

Bockari K. Stevens

"The Ebola contagion tested the very fabric of our nation; after almost 14 months we as a people surmounted that evil. Defeat of Ebola is a testament that the heroes and heroines who lost their lives did not do so in vain; the resilience of a nation can move mountains."

Gary Schulze

"The Psychosocial Aspects Of A Deadly Disease: What Ebola Has Taught Us About Holistic Healing provides a much-needed and comprehensive examination of the Ebola epidemic that devastated Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, caused infections in other countries, and continues to wreak havoc on West Africa and elsewhere. Dr. Kuriansky, a well-respected international clinical psychologist, has brought together a group of outstanding authorities to share their insights into the often fatal Ebola Virus Disease—focusing on the all-too-often overlooked psychosocial issues that are exceptionally important in transmission, recovery, and prevention, as they underlie the origins and the cultural factors impacting the disease, how the virus is transmitted, treatment steps taken, and the impact on vast numbers of victims: survivors, health-workers, orphans, young mothers and many others. The personal stories recounted in the book are revealing and heart-breaking, and complement enlightening academic perspectives. Equally important are the policy recommendations provided, including a model for psychosocial support in emergency situations. Dr. Kuriansky speaks with authority having worked in Sierra Leone during the epidemic, and afterwards, with traumatically-affected Ebola burial workers, children, survivors, and community groups, and shares her valuable clinical and research expertise from this region and decades of experiences in countries affected by a vast number of disasters as well as other infectious diseases, like SARS and AIDS. As someone who is exceptionally familiar with the culture of Sierra Leone for many decades, and who has been honored to be named an Honorary Paramount Chief, I am impressed with the breadth and depth of knowledge, and valuable guidance, that Dr. Kuriansky has presented in this book. I highly recommend this volume to anyone who wants to gain a good understanding of this deadly disease, and others like it, as well as to learn about how to deal with the impact of psychosocial issues on an entire social and economic system, and how to solve these issues for people, communities, and the extended world."

David A. Winter

"This ground-breaking and powerful book brings together the first comprehensive collection of contributions about psychosocial issues in relation to the deadly Ebola disease that has recently ravaged various countries in West Africa. It presents not only models of psychosocial support and ways of providing this and raising public awareness, but also broader policy recommendations, and, perhaps most importantly, the stories of those who have been touched in some way by the disease, either as victims or as professionals. One particularly courageous group of people, who when I was last in Freetown, Sierra Leone, told me harrowing stories not only of their experiences during the Ebola outbreak but of their stigmatisation since that time, is the burial workers. The book's editor, Dr. Judy Kuriansky, who was herself courageous enough to come to this Ebola infected region at the height of need, is to be commended for the invaluable psychosocial support that she offered these workers, as reported in the book. The Ebola epidemic was particularly tragic in Sierra Leone since the country was still reeling from the effects of a brutal 11-year civil war, but in the many years during which I have worked with and researched survivors of this war I have been constantly struck by their resilience. This resilience, and the capacity not only to recover but also to learn lessons and grow following trauma, is much in evidence in this book, not least by the way in which the Ebola crisis has led highly dedicated individuals to develop more generally the provision of psychosocial support for those who are in need of this. Although much of the work presented in the book concerns the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, it has a much broader relevance in relation to psychosocial factors and responses to health emergencies and other disasters worldwide."

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