Psychosocial support initiatives in the aftermath of the 2023 earthquake: A university-led community approach — Mehmet Dinç and Canahmet Boz

By: Mehmet Dinç and Canahmet Boz

This article discusses the response of a university psychology department to the devastating earthquakes that struck Türkiye on 6 February 2023, resulting in significant loss of life and widespread destruction. This paper focuses on the narrative practices undertaken by a university psychology department in the affected region, particularly the establishment of a psychological support telephone line staffed by volunteer psychologists. Beyond the initial establishment of the support line, the university extended its outreach to address the immediate needs of affected individuals in five cities, and subsequently, within the university premises. A “Tent of Hope” was established within a “container city” of displaced families to continue psychosocial support. This involved the volunteer efforts of psychology students to offer assistance to both children and adults. Initiatives also included the dissemination of a culturally sensitive booklet for the public and the development of a comprehensive booklet for therapists, aiming to empower individuals and communities in the aftermath of trauma. This paper includes reflections from people who contributed to these initiatives, sharing learning and insights relevant to others responding to natural disasters.

Key words: natural disaster; earthquake; trauma; emergency response; Türkiye; university; children; collective narrative practice

Dinç M., & Boz, C. (2024). Psychosocial support initiatives in the aftermath of the 2023 earthquakes: A university-led community approach. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, (1), 22–32.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Kassandra Pedersen

    I remember how devastating it was to watch the news everyday about this major earthquake in Turkey in 2023. The Greek media was filled with images of people and places in a terrible situation. This article had me thinking about the possibilities that can open up for individuals and communities when narrative practices and ethics inform collective approaches to shared experiences of loss and liminality. I was particularly drawn by the way this approach was response-based rather than a sense of intervention and/or planning it all out. It had me consider how exploring the possibilities of practice with the people we are meeting with can enable a collaborative practice whereby their responses, feedback, preferred rituals and routines and connection to their culture and religion shape our practice in times of community hardship. I really enjoyed reading about the mutual contributions between the practitioners and the people in the containers, given that often they shared similar experiences.It was also interesting to see the ripple effects of this project including a lot of practical material for others who might be responding to natural disasters. I leave this article with a strong sense of hope for the possibilities that lay behind collective narrative responses to physical disasters and/or other community hardships.

Leave a Reply