Children and adolescents are not exempt. They suffer accidents, have to undergo necessary medical interventions or cope with the loss of friends and loved ones through relocation, divorce or death. Many are victims of violence, sexual abuse, neglect and poverty. Others suffer war experiences, flight and displacement, or are struck by natural disasters. When the incomprehensible has happened, nothing is as it was before. The childlike life is in danger of falling apart.
What psychotraumatised children and adolescents most urgently need in such a situation are psychologically stable and competent adult helpers who are able to initiate first aid for the soul and thus avert possible trauma sequel disorders. Emergency Pedagogy is an approach that is mainly applied by Waldorf teachers and people who are part of emergency pedagogy missions. Its concept it based on the methods of Waldorf Education and related therapies. As emergency pedagogy is used to provide relief and stabilization after shock, it offers new possibilities for educators, trainers, and youth workers, especially for those who deal with youngsters at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
It was after the major explosion in Beirut’s port and an initial training in emergency pedagogy, that we decided to open our path into this field. After the explosion, civil society and civil society associations joint forces to help especially in the destroyed neighborhoods, but also to help the many wounded souls.
The devastating explosion has further destabilized the situation in the country; and added on the already complex and frequently changing protection situation for refugees with a steady deterioration of living conditions and a steadily shrinking protection space. Overall, the unstable socio-economic situation and the threat of national bankruptcy in Lebanon lead to extreme stress, and the psychosocial health of everyone, refugees and host communities, is severely affected.
The social consequences are widespread anger, resignation, despair, and a sharp increase in mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. There is a tremendous need for gender-, context-, and culturally-sensitive mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS).