The Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) was recently requested to conduct training for Trinidad healthcare providers in support of the United States’ Southern Command, SOUTHCOM. The training was held following a request from the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad to provide care and treatment for dozens of Trinidadians returning home from Syria later this year. Nearly 100 women and children, many of whom were recruited by ISIS, are now returning home to Trinidad. CDP was recruited to help SOUTHCOM train and educate Trinidadian civilian behavioral health providers and Muslim counselors who will directly support their citizens as they reintegrate into their communities.
The initial training was held online via Zoom on 17 September 2020 with over 15 attendees. The training was a joint effort by CDP and the U.S. One of CDP’s Senior Military Behavioral Health Psychologists, Dr. Kelly Chrestman provided an introduction to Psychological First Aid (with training support materials provided by the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and also covered a proposed stepped care model. Additional topics covered included a Background and Framework on the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Returnees from ISIS.
Between 2013 and 2016, Trinidad experienced a high export of its nationals to Iraq and Syria with many being non-combatant women and children who got caught up in the decline of ISIS. Once repatriated, these displaced refugees often have a difficult time reintegrating into their former communities and society. This particular CDP training provides education in trauma, stress, anger, reintegration and depression for those providers who will directly care for and treat these Trinidadians.
The CDP was able to support this request in less than 30 days with support from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) leadership. This training is the first of its kind from SOUTHCOM and CDP anticipates requests for additional training to include assessment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and evidence-based psychotherapy workshops in treatments for PTSD as more citizens return to Trinidad. This effort supports not only the women and children refugees of Trinidad, but also helps with ongoing U.S. diplomacy in the Western Hemisphere.