Mental Health and Well-Being of the Staff Supporting Refugees: How to Deal with Risks?

  • Rosa IzquierdoEmail author
  • Nino Makhashvili
  • Boris Drožđek
  • Thomas Wenzel


The aim of this chapter is to address impacts of the work with refugees on mental health of helpers, in particular humanitarian aid workers. These assist vulnerable populations on a daily basis and often in challenging environments. Organizations providing assistance to refugees are responsible for mental health and well-being of their staff, since the staff is exposed to situations it would have not been exposed to otherwise. A set of measures and internationally accepted standards for prevention and protection of mental health in humanitarian aid workers and in emergency settings are presented and discussed. Moreover, a Georgian research study of the helpers’ mental health and related issues is illustrating situation in the field in connection with the provided background information.


Refugees Emergency Burnout Secondary traumatization Humanitarian aid Helpers Duty of care 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa Izquierdo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nino Makhashvili
    • 2
  • Boris Drožđek
    • 3
  • Thomas Wenzel
    • 4
  1. 1.GLOCARIS-Glocal Minds Rosa Izquierdo S.L.BilbaoSpain
  2. 2.Mental Health Resource CenterIlia State UniversityTbilisiGeorgia
  3. 3.PsyQ/Parnassia GroupRosmalen/EindhovenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.World Psychiatric Association Scientific Section, Psychological Aspects of Persecution and TortureGenevaSwitzerland

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