In the struggle to provide much needed mental health support to vulnerable refugees, one woman is fearless.
Dr. Danielle Gold, Executive Director of Fearless Planet documents her organization’s work in Samos, Greece in a video released by her organization. Dr. Gold is an alum of Goddard’s MA in Psychology program and adjunct professor teaching a course on counseling refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants.
The video is entitled “Fearless Planet & ORT Mental Health Counseling & Vocational Training Project for Refugees.” It is a powerful testimony to the struggles faced by refugees in Samos, Greece where the Registration and Identification center is at 8 times its intended capacity.
The study of psychology is relevant in so many fields. I worked in education and business development with low-income communities, primarily in Africa, before getting my Master’s at Goddard. After Goddard I started to see how essential it is to integrate mental health care into community development projects, and to understand that being emotionally stable is an important part of an individual’s, and a community’s ability to succeed and flourish. Working with refugees showed me how powerful the combination of vocational training and psychosocial support are when woven together, and how applicable art therapy techniques are to healing the traumas incurred through poverty, exposure to violence, and the refugee experience.Dr. Danielle Gold, Executive Director Fearless Planet
In the video, Dr. Gold talks about the project having two primary components. First, vocational training, in which participants learn laptop and cell phone repair. The second component adds the mental health counseling, which includes “psychosocial activities, how to cope with anxiety attacks, how to recognize depression, and what are the symptoms of PTSD.”
This vulnerable population on Samos, Greece live in sub-adequate housing, an encampment on the coast of the Aegean Sea that they call “the Jungle”
Mission statement from Fearless Planet:
Since 2004, Fearless Planet has been an innovator in development projects benefiting women and their families. We promote economic advancement for low-income women by creating viable business opportunities and providing marketable skill training. We assist in establishing reliable supply chains and work to ensure fair trade practices are upheld. Health and education initiatives are integrated into all our economic advancement programs. In particular, Fearless Planet addresses mental health issues that are often linked with poverty, including domestic violence, depression, and substance abuse. At the heart of our projects is a commitment to empowering women to improve the quality of life for themselves and their children.from fearlessplanet.com
Watch this powerful video here. https://vimeo.com/363982947/cdc8327d90
SOURCES: UNHCR fact sheet