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Psychosocial support

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) found in 2013 that 47% of their staff experienced difficulty sleeping and 57% reported symptoms of sadness, unhappiness or emptiness.

In another study, Antares Foundation found that 46% to 80% of staff working in high-stress situations in their home country experience symptoms of distress.

This data is consistent across sectors that work in high-stress and insecure environments. A recent study on human rights defenders found that 89% of the study were exposed to secondary and primary trauma through interviewing witnesses and 19% had significant symptoms associated with PTSD.

Open Briefing provides the following direct psychosocial support services to staff working in insecure or high-stress environments:

These services are available on an ad-hoc basis for individuals or through a retained service agreement for organisations.


Our team understands the demands that working in the field in insecure or highly-stressful environments can place on your mental health. Our highly-experienced counsellors can provide one-off or ongoing appointments for staff who feel that they would benefit from counselling support.

Our counsellors are professionally qualified, members of the relevant governing bodies and access clinical supervision in order to maintain the quality of their practice. Open Briefing also holds medical malpractice insurance (treatment and professional indemnity).

Counselling can be provided on a private basis or as part of your organisation’s duty of care procedures; in either case, the sessions are kept confidential from your employer. Counselling is delivered via encrypted video link at a time convenient to you.

This service costs £84+VAT per hour.

Online counselling support for NGO staff working in insecure or high-stress environmentsClick To Tweet

Psychological First Aid

First developed by the Wold Health Organization, Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an evidence-based framework for offering humane, supportive and practical help to fellow human beings suffering serious crisis events. PFA is endorsed by many international agencies as an effective way to support people in the immediate aftermath of extremely stressful events.

Through one or more PFA sessions, our highly-experienced counsellor will provide you with information on common responses to difficult experiences and assess if you may require additional professional support. PFA is delivered via encrypted video link at a time convenient to you.

This service costs £84+VAT per hour.

Psychological First Aid for NGO workers in the immediate aftermath of critical incidentsClick To Tweet

Psychological First Aid training

Open Briefing also provides one-day Psychological First Aid training for line managers and security focal points. Through practical examples and case studies, the PFA training will provide you with a model to implement effective support strategies for staff after a critical incident. By the end of the training, you will:

  • Understand the impact of stress.
  • Be aware of normal early reactions after a critical incident.
  • Have a framework for providing support.
  • Know when to refer on to specialised supported.
Psychological First Aid training for line managers and security focal pointsClick To Tweet

Grants and subsidies may be available to help NGOs access our psychosocial support services. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

Open Briefing is a member of the International NGO Safety & Security Association, BOND and the Charities Security Forum. We are also a certified social enterprise.