A camper equipped to respond immediately to emergencies of a psychological kind: such is the idea that has been put into practice by the St. Camillus Centre for Listening of the Camillian religious in Tres Cantos (near to Madrid).
This service involves a mobile and personalised vehicle able to offer direct psychological help in situations of crisis caused by mourning or natural disasters.
‘For years’, explained Brother José Carlos Bermejo, the Director of the Centro de Humanizaciòn de la Salud in Madrid – ‘I was convinced that our activity had to be ‘in the field’, in line with what the Camillian Task Force does throughout the world’.
‘Our journey’, he continued, ‘was born in 1997 with the opening of a centre for listening in Madrid to provide counselling to suffering people (in 80% of cases one is dealing with people who are in mourning). The centre is by now a consolidated reality, with its 5,191 users who have been helped from the beginnings of the centre until today (696 in the last year alone). In the wake of this first experience, we have opened about twenty centres throughout Spain named after St. Camillus, and about ten in Latin America. In all cases the services have been provided entirely by volunteers’.
Recently the idea emerged of creating a mobile unit to deal with those who cannot move around or institutions that have to address emergency situations. The project began thanks to the funds provided by a bank which supplied a third of the sum that was needed. The areas of action include: accompanying after an event that provokes mourning, action during a period of crisis, and spiritual accompanying. A full-time psychologist is available in the camper.
The mobile unit was presented in the dioceses of Spain through special sensitisation days. Through its presence alone, the Centre for Humanisation, which has always been in the front line at the side of suffering people, gives practical expression to its style and goals.
‘Through this service of specialised consultancy’, Bermejo observed at the end of his talk with us, ‘we want to demonstrate direct and specific care in relation to pain, as well as making our activities known about. Once again the Camillians show that they are present where they are needed’.
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