Send a New Year message to MSF counsellor Susie Eldridge
Susie Eldridge is a psychotherapist and counsellor based in Essex. She is working overseas as Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF)'s Mental Health Activity Manager in Rakhine State, Myanmar. We asked Susie what it's like to work for MSF in a year gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and how she intended to spend Christmas in 2020.
Can you tell us more about where are you working with MSF?
"I work in two projects, Sittwe and Maungdaw. The projects work with those who are internally displaced due to ongoing conflict. We have mobile and some fixed clinics and provide medical and mental health support to the communities.
"With mental health that could be a mixture of group psycho-educational programmes, individual counselling and follow up sessions from psychological community health workers."
Why is it important that your project continues during the pandemic?
"Due to lack of government support, it is vital that we continue with our work despite the pandemic. If we were to stop then the mental health issues would most likely increase and become more severe.
"Through our educational programmes we can help with understanding around how the pandemic may affect communities and be proactive in managing potential issues."
How do you usually celebrate Christmas? What will you be doing in 2020?
"I usually celebrate Christmas with family and friends. This year I have no plans as yet, but hope to spend it with MSF colleagues.
"I would really enjoy it if we all contributed to how we celebrate based on our own cultures and bring them all together."