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GUATEMALA: New project launches to help support the emotional and psychological health of Salesian staff


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in the Central American Province are focused on the psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being of Salesian staff. They launched the Artemide Zatti project to address challenges with the support of Nicaraguan psychologist Erick Calero. The project is named after Blessed Artemide Zatti, an Argentine Salesian brother who spent his life as a nurse helping the patients of the San José Hospital in Argentine Patagonia.

The Artemide Zatti project aims to address health risk factors through psycho-education initiatives and anxiety, depression and spirituality through individual and group therapeutic support initiatives. Leadership teams under the direction of Father Javier Rivas, vicar of the province, play an important role in this initiative.

A diagnosis, if appropriate, is the first step in the process after assessing emotional health and risk factors of Salesian staff. This is done through standardized and validated psychometric scales and tests. The diagnosis provides valuable information, identifies risk factors that could be amplified by the pandemic, and notes levels of anxiety and depression.

After a diagnosis, Salesian staff then have an opportunity to engage in a program crafted to address their specific challenges and help support their psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being. The execution of the program is guided by the psycho-pedagogical, didactic, pastoral and Salesian teams of each house.

Currently, 912 teaching, administrative and operational staff members have benefited from this project, which aims to help support even more Salesian staff. By 2021, the goal is to hold online meetings and webinars with teams of psychologists to discuss the outcome of the project and share successful practices to launch new initiatives that address the emotional health of Salesian staff.

“The health of staff in Salesian centers and institutions is paramount in administering educational programs effectively,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian staff are dealing with much more than educating students. Many of the youth in Salesian programs come from difficult and challenging backgrounds, and we rely extensively on the support of staff. Ensuring they have what they need to do their job and that we are taking care of them contribute directly to how well we care for youth in our programs.”

Salesian missionaries working and living in the country have been providing for the basic needs of Guatemala’s youth while helping to break the cycle of poverty in their lives. They work extensively with poor youth and their families at youth centers, orphanages, parishes, and primary and secondary schools as well as operate technical schools, vocational training workshops and two universities in the country.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Guatemala – “Artemide Zatti” project for psycho-physical well-being of collaborators of Salesian works

Salesian Missions – Guatemala

World Bank – Guatemala

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