Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.
Depression can be due to a variety of things and or a chemical imbalance
In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal.
“It feels like I’m stuck under a huge grey-black cloud. It’s dark and lonely, suffocating me all the time.”
People who are low or depressed normally have a critical way of thinking about: Themselves:
I’m a failure
No-one likes me
Everyone is better than me
Things will never get better
What’s the point?
People’s behavior patterns also typically change if they low or depressed. For example, they tend to spend a lot of their time indoors (often in bed) and don’t socialize or do as much as they used to.
Suicidal ideations / suicidality
Interest deficit (anhedonia)
Guilt (worthlessness, hopelessness, regret, energy deficit)
Appetite significantly decreased or increased
Sleep disturbances (significant increase or decrease)
Tips for managing depression;
Try to understand what is causing the depression?
Identify what makes you happy and do those things more
More Tips on coping with depression:
Aim for eight hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems; whether you are sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers.
Eat a healthy, depression fighting diet. What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Consider the following tips for having a healthy depression fighting diet;
Reduce intake of caffeine, trans fats and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones because they will adversely affect your brain and mood.
Minimize sugar and refined carbs such as sugary snacks, baked goods, pasta, French fries and other comfort foods.
Don’t skip meals. Try to eat something at least every 3-4 hours because going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired.
Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken and eggs.
Converting Negative thoughts into positive thoughts. See the chart below:
Depressive Pessimistic Thoughts
Positive Alternative Goal
“I am lost.”
“Find a bearing.”
“No one appreciates me.”
“Find exceptions to this statement.”
“I will never get over feeling depressed.”
“Question hopelessness-thinking assumptions.”
“I can’t stand how I feel.”
“Learn to tolerate when I don’t like.”
“I am useless.”
“Question uselessness assumption.”
In the left column write your negative thoughts then in the right column, convert your negative thoughts into positive statements of what you can do to change. After seeing goals, make sure to have specific plans for reaching them. The fact is that goals without plans are often fated to fail (Gollwitzer, 1999).
Implement the plan. When you are done, evaluate and revise your plan.
Cognitive change: People sometimes develop a justification for delaying a task and hope for a better tomorrow. It is also called a false hope because you put things off until later.
Don’t think about going to the gym. Wait. You will feel rested and ready. Perhaps you will go in a day or so. Besides, exercise as a remedy for depression wont work if you are depressed.
Use the flip technique by putting one foot in front of the other and heading to the gym.
Activity remedies for depression, like house cleaning, are a pain and waste of time. You have better things to do, like watching your favorite soap opera.
Start cleaning the house while listening to the soap opera. Here you are doing two things at once; one activity that is passive, the other that is active.
A lack of scheduled activities and inconsistent routines can increase feelings of helplessness and a loss of control over the direction of your life. Adding a plan to your day can help you regain that sense of control and decrease the feeling that you’re just a passive participant in life. (Specify an activity for each hour after you wake up until you go to bed; plan for your day the night before; think about your activities and see what you actually did; think about how you felt about what you did; and note the situations and thoughts which may have negatively affected your mood.
Reach out to your social support network. Call a friend or family member to get together for tea or meet up somewhere outside.
Do some volunteering activities
Smile at people even the strangers.
Set small goals. Depression can make the simplest task seem daunting, so breaking things down into small makes the task seem more doable. For example, instead of getting stuck thinking “how am I going to get to work everyday this week”, think about getting to work today, then break it down even further; like getting out of bed, having a shower, getting dressed and so on. Each time you complete a step, give yourself credit. Getting out of bed when fighting depression is an accomplishment.
Find ways that make you laugh. Humor gives you a break from all the negative thoughts depression brings. Possible ways of laughing varies; it involves talking to a friend, watching a funny show, following a humorous account on social media, reading jokes or any other way, it can all help.
Refugee & Asylum Seekers Emergency Psychological Aid
Lesvos Camp, Moria
Providing clinical emergency psychological aid to Afghan unaccompanied minors in the Lesvos refugee camp Lesvos Camp, in Moria.
Campaign against gender-based violence
Magenta & UNDP
The campaign aims to challenge the idea that violence is a solution to home conflict. In order to deescalate domestic tension and create a harmonious home the campaign presents talking and listening as an alternative resolution path, rather than lashing out in anger.
Developing and implementing trauma rehabilitation to professors and admin staff at the university. The professors then will work with their students to psychologically support them after the critical incident.
Clinical Supervisor of Staff
Afghanistan Capacity Development and Educational Organization (ACDEO)
Orchestrated staff training for answering client phone calls, executing emergency referrals, and managing crisis phone calls on the emergency hotline. Facilitated training and educational staff programs on the foundations of mental health.
Organized and coordinated with WHO and the Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Network (MHPSS) working group in Afghanistan, to prepare strategic plans, TORs, and mapping for the sustainability of the working groups. Put together protocols, manuals, minimum standards for MHPSS, as well as psychological guides for their teams in Afghanistan and served as key liaison for MHPSS throughout Afghanistan. Guided and fostered relationships with all relevant MHPSS stakeholders and providers within Afghanistan and abroad, working closely with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).
Conducting initial needs assessments and identifying how CORE Response can effectively leverage its resources, leading a MHPSS team to support Ukrainian refugees in Polish border towns. Mapping existing MHPSS services, connecting with local partners and
Protection Case Management
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Providing technical advice and supervision to IRC’s Protection Team based in Afghanistan. Producing a comprehensive report to inform Protection staff with limited knowledge on mental health on the situation in Afghanistan, the core principles of MHPSS and to outline potential strategy for integrating MHPSS into Protection response. Adapting and delivering training on MHPSS to Protection staff, and facilitating skill-building in case management.
Mental Health and Psychosocial Training and Support
Designing and implementing training on basic MHPSS principles and facilitating group counseling sessions for reproductive health staff at MSI in Kabul. Building capacity of the staff to independently lead counseling sessions for their colleagues.
Psychosocial Resources for Caregivers
Designing and creating mental health and psychological tools and resources for caregivers and children affected by the crisis in Ukraine. Our team directed and produced short films focused on showing culturally appropriate and relevant skills building for those experiencing displacement and trauma, and then disseminated these to the target population.
External Evaluation of the project Mitigating the potential impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Peace Process in Afghanistan
Conducted a final external evaluation of the implementation of Geneva Call’s Afghanistan project. Our team developed key research questions, conducted fieldwork in Kabul, and produced a final evaluation analyzing to what extent the organization had mitigated potential impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the healthcare of vulnerable populations.
POMA was awarded a $10,000 grant by Choose Love. Our team coordinated with Click.af to purchase, package and distribute aid packages of food and sanitary products to vulnerable families in Kabul. Additionally, we collected and paid electricity bills for families.
Guidelines and Quality Standards on legal assistance for children in conflict with the law (CLEAR-Rights Project)
A joint project with Asylex, with our teams collaborating as psychology expert and legal expert, to elaborate on the guidelines and quality standards of legal assistance of children in conflict with the law in Europe. This report will contribute to the ‘CLEAR Rights: enhancing legal assistance for children in Europe’ project, strengthening access to quality and specialized legal aid for minors in Europe.
Training approx. 25 Seefar counsellors in Kabul on providing mental health related guidance to people who have experienced trauma. The organization works with migrants who have migrated primarily with economic motivations, not due to conflict.
Coping with War through God: Islamic-Based Counselling and the Promotion of Peace and Mental Health in Armed Conflicts
Princeton University & Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL)
Through this pilot study, we will conduct a randomized experiment in Kabul, Afghanistan, to assess the impacts of basic cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions that incorporate Islamic beliefs and are delivered by trained religious clerics. The randomized experiment will examine the role of Islamic-based counseling in helping civilians cope with the adverse psychological effects of war and fostering support for peace and reconciliation.
Developing and coordinating a training program for staff working in the Kabul office, raising awareness of workplace harassment, the psychological effects, and providing management with tools for the establishment of a complaints system.
Developing and implementing a strategic vision for over 400 employees and their areas of responsibility, performing career counselling and acting as a platform for employee concerns. Providing clinical psychological support to employees, psych education to managerial staff, and promoting the overall health and well-being of all employees.
GIZ Airport Study
GIZ (The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit)
POMA’s team has developed methods to respond to the psychological trauma post terrorist attacks throughout Afghanistan and implemented them after several traumatic events in Kabul (Wedding Incident, MSF Hospital Attack, University and School Events).
Provision of technical advise to a national consultant responsible for conducting a case management capacity assessment across three districts. Development and support for the implementation of a capacity building plan for CPAN and CP actors in Ghor, Afghanistan.
The feasibility study “Strengthening Women, Promoting Peace, Networking Across Countries, Enabling Education: Better Integration of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Host Communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan”, a project funded by TDH Germany (10%) and the BMZ (90%), assesses in borderland geographies of Afghanistan to what extent it is possible to implement measures for improved livelihood and integrated living situations for refugees/returnees and IDPs as well as host communities over the course of five years in the provinces of Nangarhar and Paktika.
De-Escalation Training and First Psychological Care after Stressful Events Training for PME in Afghanistan
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ
PoMA entered the project as contracted end. As such our insights, in contrast to the mid-term narrative report provided, offer an overview of implemented projects as well as the implications of the end phase of the project on the beneficiaries as well as implementing partners on the ground in Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif. To provide a deeper understanding on the implementation of project activities in the province of Balkh and Kabul, this section of the report provides an overview of general project activities and discusses challenges and limitations in the evaluation of the implementation of set targets documented.
Psychological Support and Employee Assistance Program
Conducted extensive literature searches using prominent social work and psychology databases on topics including childhood trauma, juveniles, trauma and correctional settings, policy reform, juvenile rehabilitation and laws for juveniles.
Emerging Issues in Juvenile Forensic Evaluation Practice and Policy
An examination in age-based differences in “knowledge” regarding the role of counsel, presumptions about counsel, and maturity of judgment when making decisions about whether to waive the right to counsel, funded by the National Institute of Health. Along with emerging issues for Juveniles Forensics evaluation, practices and policies.
Mental Health Awareness Campaign in Afghanistan Leading a mental health awareness campaign on behalf of the Ministry of Public Health across Afghanistan and spanning a year with multiple messaging channels.
MHPSS Working Group – MOPH Action Against Hunger
ECHO – WHO – ACF – MoPH
https://www.who.int/ , https://moph.gov.af/en
Development of working group MHPSS Afghanistan: Preparation of SOP, Qualifications for PSS Workers, strategize for providers and stakeholders in Afghanistan
Migrants and Asylum Seekers Psychological Aid and Support
Prepare project implementation period through conducting a safety audit visit, training delivery and testing of interview tools. This includes: Support the analysis, key findings and report writing Developing the training materials
Kandahar Critical Incident Psychological Response
Resolution Support – NATO, US AirForce, Northrop Grumman
March 2020 in response to the crash of a U.S. Air force E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) aircraft in Kandahar on January 27 2020. Individual and group psychological counselling was provided to deal with grief and trauma which revealed some insight into some ongoing challenges and recommendations for personnel going forward.
Psycho-Social Support (PSS) interventions in Afghanistan
The core activities proposed will be to develop and conduct a needs assessment, develop PSS toolkits and training packages, and to train emergency teams on basic Psychological First Aid (PFA) principles so that they can incorporate these into their work.
Department of Defense (DoD) combatting trafficking in persons (TIP) training and awareness. PoMA provided culturally sensitive training to 500+ employees to ensure that TIP policies and procedures are implemented.