Caring for the mental health of humanitarian volunteers in traumatic contexts

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Research Article on the importance of organizational support


Humanitarian workers operate in traumatic contexts, putting them at an increased risk of adverse mental health outcomes.

The quality of the support they receive from their organization, their supervisor, and team members are proposed as determinants of mental illness and well-being, via the stress-appraisal process.


Perceived organizational support is a key determinant of the mental health of
humanitarian volunteers, with greater perceived support associated with lower distress symptomology and greater mental well-being. Humanitarian agencies should take actions to improve their internal organization support systems to mitigate the stress associated with working in traumatic contexts. Specifically, more attention should be paid to the organizational support of the volunteers as front-line workers in humanitarian setting.

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