Initially conceived and operated as a national mental health awareness campaign aimed at sharing messages about psychological well-being for Afghans, Peace of Mind Afghanistan (POMA) has evolved into a female-led transnational network of psychologists, community leaders, researchers, and development practitioners focused on fostering a more just and equitable Afghan society and creating a stronger dialogue around these issues.
Independently-registered with the government of Afghanistan, under the stewardship of US-certified psychologist, Lyla Schwartz, POMA provides a range of services that have grown beyond dispensing specialist mental health and psychological support services for those working with at-risk populations in Afghanistan. services, in particular trauma-related, for people with and without special needs; gender and children’s rights, politics and social welfare; as well as in politics and the sociology of armed non-state groups. This allows POMA to foster interdisciplinary and context-specific approaches to conduct evaluations and sensitive research focusing on the most vulnerable segments of the Afghan population and survivors of political, structural and domestic violence – including sexual and gender-based violence and other forms of conflict-related physical and psychological trauma.
POMA the only major local Afghan institutions dealing specifically with the issue of mental health. Furthermore, we are female led and have decades of cumulative expertise in the fields of gender mainstreaming as well as mental health and psychological and social services. Importantly, POMA emphasizes building its own internal culture of workplace safety – not only in terms of mental and physical wellbeing but also in terms of our own organizational culture aimed at building safe and harassment-free work spaces, and therefore leading by example.