Just released last month by the University Press of New England, Trauma and Recovery on War’s Border is a major new publication in the field of global mental health. Spearheaded by BBP’s own Dr. Kathleen Allden and Nancy Murakami, the book is a collaborative effort of Burma Border Projects staff and esteemed colleagues to consolidate the best of what we have learned from working on issues of mental health and psychosocial well-being for those who have been most affected by decades of oppression in Burma.
Dr. Allden and Murakami go beyond theory to share insights gained through years of on-the-ground experience planning and implement projects on the Burma border. Global mental theory is allied with local perspectives. Accordingly, each chapter is written as a collaboration between international experts and their local partners. It is these voices that have been missing from the majority of global mental health literature. It is time to tell the stories of individuals who have directly contributed to and benefited from the initiatives that are taking place in migrant communities and refugee camps across Thailand.
Dr. Allden and Murakami address topics such as assessment and intervention protocols, the special challenges of working with vulnerable groups, and the technical aspects of supervision and evaluation programs. An introduction by the editors establishes the political and health contexts of working at the Thai-Burma border. A foreword by renowned humanitarian Dr. Cynthia Maung of the Mae Tao Clinic sets the tone for the importance of the work. “We believe mental health is a basic human right,” she writes. “In our nearly fifteen-year collaboration with Burma Border Projects through increased training and capacity for providing mental healthcare, we have witnessed the transformative power that access to such support enables.”
This book will serve as a fundamental text for clinicians, interns, volunteers, and researchers who work in places that have suffered the violence of war, forced displacement, human rights violations, poverty, and oppression. Medical students enrolled in Dr. Allden’s course on “Global Mental Health and Humanitarian Assistance” at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth have already benefited from class discussions of the book.
In a time when more and more students and professionals of various capacities are choosing to travel the globe to deliver mental health aid, the lessons set forth by Trauma and Recovery at War’s Border cannot be ignored.