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Overseas Services to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (OSSTT)
The history of counselling in Nauru is recent; the late 2000’s is when the counselling profession started to get more attention in regards to child safety from domestic violence. In 2014, the Nauru Gender Country Plan provided a “counsellor at the Republic of Nauru Hospital” (The Government of the Republic of Nauru, 2015, p. 12). Gender based counsellors were created to provide basic level counselling for domestic violence survivors (The Government of the Republic of Nauru, 2015). Prior to the early 2000’s, counselling was not addressed in Nauru, which led to major problems of sucide for refugees and people seeking asylum in the country (The Government of the Republic of Nauru, 2015). Mental health issues became a priority first for children and women who were affected by domestic violence.
Although there are no counselling associations in Nauru, most counselling services are provided through the Safe House by the government of Nauru (The Government of the Republic of Nauru, 2015). Recognition of counselling has become more prominent in Nauru, but it is still underdeveloped regarding the level of counselling that is provided. Major psychological and counselling needs are fulfilled in Australia rather than in Nauru due to their underdeveloped level of counselling services.
It is unknown how many counsellors exist in Nauru. However, counsellors provide services in settings including:
- Non-Governmental Organizations
- The Safe House provided by the Department of Home Affairs
Although a draft mental health policy has been developed, psychological services are still limited to children and women who experience domestic violence in Nauru. Nauru “is a member of the WHO Pacific Islands Mental Health Network” (The Government of the Republic of Nauru, n.d., para 3). According to The Government of the Republic of Nauru (n.d.) out of every 100,000 Nauru citizens, there are “9.8 mental health outpatient facilities and 19.5 psychiatric beds” (The Government of the Republic of Nauru, n.d., para 3). The high rate of suicide attempts in Nauru is alarming considering the lack of mental health services there are to combat the mental health problems (SBS News, 2018). There is only one hospital on the island that provides basic medical care, the Republic of Nauru Hospital. When someone on the island suffers from a life-threatening illness or injury, the only medical attention they will receive is from hospitals in Australia, where they have to be flown (Doctors assisting in South-Pacific Islands, n.d.).
For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in the country, interested readers are recommended to read the following journal & website articles: