Psychosocial support

Poverty, violence and illness impose psychological stress which can traumatise people. Psychosocial support can help them to work through these situations and gain control of their lives again. This applies, for example, to children and young people who have lost their parents to HIV/Aids.
Young men painting
Psychological stress can restrict people's ability to act. In extreme cases, it can lead to crippling trauma. That is why intervention in crisis situations of all kinds is now standard, for example, for the survivors of accidents or natural disasters, or to help specific occupational groups like firefighters.

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.

The REPSSI logo


Access to social and emotional support

The non-profit organisation that was co-founded by terre des hommes schweiz, REPSSI (Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative), is dedicated to promoting and delivering psychosocial support. This year REPSSI celebrates its 10th anniversary.