Home Institution

University of Colorado Boulder

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy


Humanitarianism has been a long-standing principle of helping those in need. However, the work of providing such assistance is not an easy feat. Humanitarian work is mentally taxing because of the high daily demands of the job as well as the potential for exposure to direct and secondary traumatization. These mental health risks can manifest into the mental health disorders if the stressors of the job are not well managed by individual aid workers and by the humanitarian organizations. The most common mental health disorders experienced by aid workers are depression, anxiety, burnout, and PTSD. Research into mental health and humanitarian aid workers suggests that discrepancies exist in mental health risks and outcomes for national aid and international aid workers due to their diverse backgrounds. However, current organizational practices indicate that they are not meeting the diverse needs of all their staff members. To bridge the gap between this discrepancy in mental health service provision for national and international aid workers, humanitarian organizations must increase their efforts to include national staff within organizational policies and they must conduct more research into the various needs of the national staff that they employ.


Community Health | Family, Life Course, and Society | Mental and Social Health | Work, Economy and Organizations