for environmental guardians
"We abuse nature instead of living with nature in a mutual and respectful relationship. Taking care of nature's guardians is a step towards a new way of connecting".
STRONG-BALANCED RANGERS PROGRAM
We have created a program to develop the resilience of eco-guards from National Parks. National Parks face an incredible amount of problems, such as wildlife and forest crime due to the human pressures through development, understaffing, lack of financing, and in some countries, war. The National Parks' staff suffer every day to apply their mandate. They should be taken care of by their governments not only with proper salaries and work conditions but also in their mental health. The situation is even worse in developing countries, where the uncovering needs of the whole population extend to every sphere of human life. There are organizations specialized in biodiversity and habitat protection that have already highlighted this special need, to reinforce resilience from the special forces protecting our planet.
We as experts in mental health are focused to work on in developing countries, where mental health services continue to be lacking.
The program is adapted from the "Master Resilience Training" program created by Dr. Karen J. Reivich and Martin E. P. Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania for the American Army.
Why we should develop mental health skills for eco-guards from National Parks?
The eco-guards of the anti-poaching units in the National Parks have paramilitary training to combat wildlife crime. In their fight against this type of crime, they face stressful situations, many of them violent and traumatic, including kidnappings, confrontations with firearms, and hand-to-hand fighting. From these types of circumstances, they survive with physical and psychological consequences for a lifetime.
Eco-guards perform their duties under harsh working conditions, such as isolation from the community and their families, lack of adequate work equipment, low remuneration, and insufficient training. Some of these conditions are typical of high-risk professions and contribute to the possible development of anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress.
When these pathologies are not adequately treated, rangers will have a progressive deterioration in all areas of their lives. If this happens, it will backfire in that we will be failing in securing the National Park and the safety of the species that inhabit it (many of which are in danger of extinction).
Governments, Agencies, NGOs, or private organizations working or sponsoring "Biodiversity protection" are encouraged to adopt Resilience Training to support eco guards' overall well-being, which should be the ultimate goal to ensure National Parks' protection.
About the Resilience Training
Our resilience training aims to be the final training for enterprises, agencies, and NGOs in developing countries that are collaborating or sponsoring key activities within and around National Parks. Providing a set of mental health skills for the eco-guards and management staff of the Park can enhance performance and reduce conflict with neighboring communities.
The course is divided into a journey of self-discovery through 6 fundamental pillars that strengthen resilience, the Resilience Core Competencies:
At each stage, individuals and teams will be learning a set of skills that includes exploring their current thoughts, emotions, and behavior patterns, verifying whether they are favorable or unfavorable for their personal and professional performance. Through the teaching of evidence-based skills to improve well-being, they can choose to transform their personal and professional lives into more positive, productive, and meaningful ones.
The Strong-Balanced Resilience Training for eco-guards will strengthen their psychological fitness, facilitate stress management in adverse situations, increase workplace efficiency, maximize individual performance, and prevent the onset of mental disorders.