Psychological stress impedes progress
For a long time, people did not fully realise that poverty, discrimination, colonialisation, illness, violence and war all traumatise the people concerned in similar ways. People in difficult living conditions, whose experiences push them to the limit of what they can tolerate psychologically, are made uncertain; they withdraw into themselves and appear depressed or aggressive. This has also been the project experience of terre des hommes schweiz, because the hoped-for results will never happen if the psychosocial aspects are not taken into consideration.
Intervening on individual and social levels
Psychosocial support works on two levels: the individual and the social. Damaged personalities are treated in their social environment. We try to promote a fairer society and mobilise individual and personal skills. Only then can people act on their own initiative and gain control of their own lives.
Surviving after the death of their parents
Psychosocial support is key, for example, in the context of HIV/Aids. Many children and young people have to look after sick parents, or they have lost them and are left to fend for themselves. Often they have to care for younger siblings as well. In order to be able to cope with these responsibilities, the children and young people need to work through their experiences. To do that, their personal capabilities and self-confidence have to be strengthened. On a social level, it is important to create a supportive environment.