Evaluation of a support group for Ebola hotline workers in Sierra Leone
ABSTRACT: During the Ebola epidemic, Sierra Leoneans called an emergency hotline (the ‘117 Hotline') to report matters related to Ebola, such as suspected cases. Workers on the 117 Hotline were at high risk for experiencing stress, including secondary trauma, so a support group to provide psychosocial support was implemented by an international humanitarian organization for the workers. A qualitative evaluation was conducted in which 44 hotline workers were interviewed about working at 117 Hotline and their experiences in the support group. The respondents all reported that the support group was beneficial. They most valued being able to increase their knowledge to help the callers and having a safe, re-energizing space to meet. They elucidated how the group helped promote their capacity for self-care, by ‘building [them] emotionally' and giving them a new perspective on life. The respondents described how the support group helped them at work in handling abusive calls, managing stress and developing counseling skills. These findings indicate that using support groups for hotline workers during a crisis is a promising approach to promoting mental health, self-care and work performance. This indicates the need to ensure psychosocial support is provided to the helpers as well as the victims of an international disaster.
International Journal of Culture and Mental Health
Mymin Kahn, Diddy; Bulanda, Jeffrey; Weissberger, Andra; Jalloh, Sulaiman; Von Villa, Edward; and Williams, Alfred, "Evaluation of a support group for Ebola hotline workers in Sierra Leone" (2016). Social Work Faculty Publications. 3.