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Keystone Human Services International Comprehensive Systems of Care for Children and Youth in the North Caucasus

Toolkit and Resource Guide: North Ossetia

Assessing the Immediate Psychological, Educational and Health Needs of the Most Vulnerable Children and Their Families

It is hardly possible to discuss the needs of psychological support in the Republic of North Ossetia without focusing on the Beslan terrorist act of September 2004 and the consequences of that tragic event which continue to impact the mental health of the local population. A detailed discussion of these problems, as well as the environment in which psychological services were developed at the Beslan Clinical Hospital, is provided in the manuscript “Psychological Support to Children and Adolescents after the Beslan Tragedy” written by Alexander L. Venger, Ph.D., and Elena I. Morozova, Ph.D., child psychologists who served as expert consultants on the psychological rehabilitation of children and families in the CSOC Project. Beginning in June 2006, the support and growth of these psychological services was made possible through Keystone’s CSOC Project sponsored by USAID.

Psychological Support to Children and Adolescents after the Beslan Tragedy by A. L. Venger & E.I. Morozova

Increasing Professional Capacity

This section of the CSOC Project toolkit offers an overview of the work done in Beslan, North Ossetia in the framework of the CSOC Project. Venger and Morozova provide some profound insights into this work. The work of these experts in North Ossetia has been focused on ensuring professional psychological support for children and teenagers after the Beslan tragedy.

The Beslan tragedy of 2004 had dramatic consequences that caused the majority of the population of the Republic to experience symptoms of trauma. The analysis of the situation in the city and the conditions of work shows how important it was to consider the historical and cultural aspects of the local area to build a relevant comprehensive system of care in Beslan.

Based on practical material on the work at the Beslan Rehabilitation Center, Venger and Morozova describe a variety of methods of psychological diagnostics and supports to children, teenagers and their families. Some of the cases that illustrate the methods of work have been provided by the Keystone CSOC Project team at the Beslan Rehabilitation Center. All of the psychological methods applied at the Center are analyzed by the experts from the point of identification of the tasks for psychological support. These tasks vary according to the need and the types of psychological support in the area.

The experience of working in Beslan has resulted in a remarkable output in psychological science. It has been revealed how the cultural and historical approach in psychology, a method associated with the name of Lev Vygotskiy, had its further development through application in the fields of psychotherapy and psychological treatment (working with stress, anxiety and trauma). The practical reference to the theoretical output was made based on the experience of work at the Beslan Rehabilitation Center.

In addition, Venger and Morozova provide an analysis of the organizational and methodological issues in developing a psychological support system in the Republic of North Ossetia, as well as recommendations for building such a system.

The issues and methods presented by these experts serve as resources for building comprehensive systems of psychological support for children, teenagers and their families in North Ossetia and beyond.

Community Development and Citizen Participation

Because of its success, the program “Flowers of Life,” organized by youth volunteers on the holiday devoted to the Day of Protection of Children, has become a tradition for Beslan citizens. See Section 9.2. “Group work with Beslan senior pupils” in Chapter 9 Group Work with Teenagers for a complete discussion of this program.

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