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Anette Carnemalm

Anette Carnemalm – a psychologist and psychotherapist, trained in DBT, PE and family therapy. Previously at work in in- and out-care psychiatric clinics for children and adults, in neonatal intensive care, in volunteer organizations treating undocumented migrants. Since 2014 at work as Head of the Swedish Red Cross Treatment Center for Persons Affected by War and Torture in Malmoe. Since 1989 the center provides multi-disciplinary treatment and rehabilitation for refugees suffering from PTSD related to war, torture and/or flight. The services include psychotherapy, medical treatment, physiotherapy, social counseling and family interventions addressing secondary trauma in children and youth. Documentation of torture according to the Istanbul protocol is executed at the center, also involving young victims.

The treatment center also houses research, on physiotherapy – or rather the role of physical activity when recovering from trauma, on SGBV, where an inventory is made to assess and then raise the knowledge level of our clinicians; our treatment criteria define “trauma related to war, torture and/or flight” and this too is under scrutiny, where our goal is a better accommodation of women´s experiences of armed conflict. The third track focuses on post-migratory stress and its importance when designing treatment of PTSD. The latter is of relevance not at least in current times when trying to handle the corona pandemic and its effect on our patients.

Abstract – Clinical Master Class – 22 July 2020

Providing Clinical Interventions for Refugees during the COVID-19 Pandemic: European Perspectives

In this presentation Anette Carnemalm will talk about how the Swedish Centre has provided clinical support to clients during Covide-19 pandemic and she will also briefly elaborate on how other Centres in Europe have supported clients during the pandemic.

Concerning the impact of COVID-19 on refugees, the Red Cross Treatment Centre for Persons Affected by War and Torture has evolved along four tracks, where the first one is guided by our organization´s mandate complying with direct assignments from the Swedish government. Among these we´ve made our staff available to assist in the national helpline on corona, offering guidelines and support to people who have been worried and at loss during this crisis. At a later stage we´ve offered counseling for the volunteers who´ve entered the very same assignment. The Swedish Red Cross have had guides/assistants by the hospitals, again offering information and support to those seeking healthcare, and one of our co-workers have been in charge of this project.

The second track has been that of informing our patients of relevant and updated facts and guidelines in this crisis, including translating materials associated with this. A lot of our patients and their families have been worried, are in risk groups, have been sick and so on, and our numbers of visits have been quite strongly reduced, especially in the beginning of the pandemic – some of the time has been set aside to make sure that adequate information is at hand. A study made by among others the IFRC has guided our efforts to “include marginalized and vulnerable people in risk communication abs community engagement”.

The third, and very important, track has been about making sure that the vulnerability of our patients and refugees at large in this crisis too, highlighting this in dialogue with institutions, partners in society, our own organization, in media and so on, according also to the UN policy brief on” Covid-19 and the Need for Action on Mental Health”.

The fourth track then simply includes clinical considerations with a quite rapid change of modalities for treatment (and consultations) into digital formats, trying also to make this part of a future treatment modality as well.

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