Two strong earthquakes struck Mexico in September 2017, killing more than 400 people and destroying homes, schools and health infrastructure. In partnership with a Mexico-based relief organization, Fundacion Origen, International Medical Corps is supporting relief and recovery services for families impacted by the two earthquakes. This includes training first responders and other professionals interacting with affected communities in psychological first aid, a crucial skill set that gives practical tools and techniques for providing sensitive and culturally appropriate support to people who have experienced extremely distressing events. We are also working with Fundacion Origen to determine how best to support the outstanding needs of families who are still displaced by the 8.1-magnitude earthquake that struck Oaxaca in February 2018.
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS)
To help those affected by the earthquake cope with loss and stress, and support comprehensive community reconstruction, International Medical Corps provides mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS) in three municipalities in Oaxaca: Ciudad Ixtepec, Santiago Niltepec and San Dionisio del Mar. We are helping prepare community members to offer psychological first aid and other mental health services in the case of future crises. To date, 1,144 people have been reached by our MHPSS interventions in Oaxaca.
International Medical Corps has provided two training programs on psychological first aid (PFA) in Oaxaca. We trained a team of psychologists, who subsequently trained fellow community members on how to design and establish MHPSS interventions with a special focus on PFA. Our trainings have also helped activate community support networks and increase awareness of how to access mental health services.
International Medical Corps is providing training to youth on the MHPSS needs of children and youth, and how to lead youth empowerment sessions focused on supportive communication, recognizing signs of distress in youth and adolescents, and referral to support services. Our youth-led community engagement project engages students in filmmaking, mural arts and other forms of storytelling that involve the older persons in documenting historical community practices, especially those around resilience and coping strategies.
In partnership with the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, International Medical Corps is supporting the communities in Chietla, a municipality of Puebla State, to rehabilitate and/or reconstruct eight “Casas de Salud,” which serve a combined population of nearly 34,000 people. Staffed with one Community Health Worker each, the Casas de Salud represent the first—and in some cases only—point of contact for health care in remote communities, and can provide the vast majority of routine health needs free of charge.