For the past six years, children in Syria have been bombed and starved. They have seen their friends and families die before their eyes or buried under the rubble of their homes. They have watched their schools and hospitals destroyed, been denied food, medicine and vital aid, and been torn apart from their families and friends as they flee the fighting. Every year that the war goes on plumbs new, previously unimaginable depths of violence against children, and violations of international law by all sides.
“The children are psychologically crushed and tired. When we do activities like singing with them, they don’t respond at all. They don’t laugh like they would normally. They draw images of children being butchered in the war, or tanks, or the siege and the lack of food.”
Teacher in the besieged town of Madaya to Save the Children
Civil demonstrations that began in March 2011 were met with force which escalated into a civil war that now is in its sixth year. Millions of Syrians, almost half the Syrian population, have been displaced either internally or as refugees in neighbouring countries and beyond.
The number of registered refugees recorded by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) now stands at 4.8 million, with just under half a million of these being resident in camps (data from the UNHCR portal, http://data. unhcr.org, August 2016). As is often the case in armed conflicts, civilians are the main victims, and we highlight here their mental health and psychosocial needs along with the response from Syrian non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
War trauma leads to a wide range of psychological consequences and disorders that can be quite disabling to individuals and their families. At times of war, existing resources become strained to cope with all demands of trauma sufferers. The survivors’ role of managing their own mental conditions becomes highly important and relevant as a way of reducing the resulted suffering. Unfortunately, this role is often ignored or trivialized by all concerned. The self‑efficacy and resilience of people are the factors not to be underestimated and should be built upon.
Reaching solutions are generally more satisfying and long‑lasting when the affected person has taken a positive active part in finding them. Encouraging the use of own resources and experiences and using own problem‑solving skills can be all that is needed for survivors to feel enabled. Engaging survivors and focusing on promoting recovery and social inclusion along with the use of self‑help skills make them feel more positive about their own conditions. Being more involved, taking even small steps reduces the development of learned helplessness and reduces the psychiatric morbidities...
Introduction: The purpose is to explore the consequences of war and its impact on mental health with attention to the Mediterranean area.
Narrative review of consequences of war on mental health and on the mental health of the communities in the current crises in the Mediterranean region.
Authors: G. Hassan, P. Ventevogel, H. Jefee-Bahloul, A. Barkil-Oteo and L. J. Kirmayer
This paper is based on a report commissioned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which aims to provide information on cultural aspects of mental health and psychosocial wellbeing relevant to care and support for Syrians affected by the crisis...
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