Psychosocial Support and Community Wellness is how we work in various traumatized places worldwide, including communities in the global North, war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan, tsunami-affected Japan, poverty-stricken rural Mexico, and Ebola-threatened Liberia. Our approach, which respects each unique situation within its cultural context, enables communities to discover their specific “right way” forward.
Our work is founded on a public health approach. We believe that most illnesses, including various types of mental illness, are preventable. Individual wellness is grounded in the community, and the community itself holds many solutions to its own health needs. Therefore, we promote locally existing positive coping skills and wellness practices to create just and peaceful communities. The World Health Organization’s Mental Health Guidelines provide details on the community’s role and the importance of self-care in ensuring wellness and supportive community processes.
Our innovative and culturally appropriate programs are facilitated by Focusing Initiatives International teachers and facilitators. With minimal training, people can connect with their inner source of resilience and that of their community, and healing can begin. To tap into local wisdom, we identify those who are already recovering and thriving, learn from them, adopt and adapt strategies, and help them share their experiences with others in their community.
Through our process, community members can find the resilience to:
- address problems,
- improve community connections,
- change how they face the stresses of daily life,
- overcome creative blocks,
- explore spiritual connections in their inner lives, and
- discover how they can be part of positive changes in the world.
To foster resilience and community engagement, we offer workshops on human development, including psychosocial wellness, healing from trauma, and coping with and reducing stress. We also mentor trainers throughout the world in focusing and other processes that aid in self-reflection, communication and greater listening skills, so that they can become more effective leaders and promote wellness, emotional safety, and human development in their own communities. In addition, we provide technical assistance to individuals and organizations to help them design, establish, fund, and operate local programs and projects to promote human development.
The success of our method used in Afghanistan was evaluated by two independent non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They found that our method can reduce violence in families and schools, improve wellbeing and physical health, reduce reliance on over-the-counter and illegal drugs and alcohol, and increase capacity to facilitate peace and reconciliation.