In 2018, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) returned to Nicaragua to offer psychosocial support to people affected by violence resulting from civil and political unrest.
Starting in June, our teams provided mental health care to 698 patients most of them suffering from conditions such as anxiety, adjustment disorder, and post-traumatic stress as a result of having witnessed or experienced violent events.
We conducted initial consultations and follow-up sessions with individuals and families in the capital, Managua, as well as in Masaya, Jinotepe, León, Jinotega, and Matagalpa.
In addition, we provided basic training in mental health care, psychological first aid, and self-care to community leaders and educators, to enable them to give psychological support to others in crisis situations, and to manage the physical and psychological impact on themselves.
We also trained 559 psychologists and health professionals to identify trauma and to detect the signs and symptoms of violence and traumatic grief, including in minors. The training better equipped them not only to diagnose, but also to intervene and care for victims of violence.
According to figures from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, by the end of 2018, 18,632 Nicaraguans had registered asylum claims in Costa Rica. We therefore extended our training to clinical psychologists and organizations in Costa Rica, to support their provision of mental health care to Nicaraguans who have crossed the border.