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).
World Mental Health Day (10 October) is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in many countries. On this day, each October, thousands of supporters observe an annual awareness program to bring attention to Mental Illness and its major effects on people’s lives worldwide. In some countries this day is part of an awareness week, such as Mental Illness Awareness Week in the US and Mental Health Week in Australia.
This years's theme ‘Dignity in Mental Health-Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All’ will enable us to contribute to the goal of taking mental health out of the shadows so that people in general feel more confident in tackling the stigma, isolation and discrimination that continues to plague people with mental health conditions, their families and carers...
The first meeting of the Syrian Refugees Taskforce took place on Thursday 21st July at the RCPsych Headquarters in London.
RCPsych Members, representatives from Public Health England and the British Psychological Society came together to hear presentation about the situation in Syria and to discuss the role of the RCPsych in meeting the needs of Syrian Refugees in refugee camps in the region and those who were in the UK ...
One of the lectures delivered at The 4th-Conference on the psychological and social sequela of Syrian crisis
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...
Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) is a term used to describe a wide range of actions that address social, psychological and psychiatric problems that are either pre-existing or emergency-induced. These actions are carried out in highly different contexts by organizations and people with different professional backgrounds, in different sectors and with different types of resources. All these different actors – and their donors – need practical assessments leading to recommendations that can be used immediately to improve people’s mental health and well-being...
When terrible things happen in our communities, countries and the world, we want to reach out a helping hand to those who are affected. This guide covers psychological first aid which involves humane, supportive and practical help to fellow human beings suffering serious crisis events. It is written for people in a position to help others who have experienced an extremely distressing event. It gives a framework for supporting people in ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities. Despite its name, psychological first aid covers both social and psychological support.
This Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) Intervention Guide module contains assessment and management advice related to acute stress, post-traumatic stress and grief in non-specialized health settings...
A Review for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Staff Working with Syrians Affected by Armed Conflict. 2015 ...
- What started as a dream for freedom has become a nightmare
- Civil demonstration were faced with brutal regime response from day one
- External interference with various agendas
- Hesitation from international community to find a solution
- Heavier indiscriminate bombardment continued ...
The most common mental health problems among refugees are depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an effective treatment for PTSD. However, no previous randomized controlled trial (RCT) has been published on treating PTSD symptoms in a refugee camp population.
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...
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT, George N. Christodoulou
WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY THEME FOR 2015, ”Dignity in Mental Health”, 10 October 2015
NOTES FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR CONSTITUENCY DEVELOPMENT, Mohammed Abou Saleh
WFMH CONFERENCES IN 2015
WHO REPORT ON INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE
UN COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
NEWS FROM VOTING MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS
- Egyptian Society for the Rights of People with Mental Illness
- Vox Pro Salud Mental
- Psychiatric Association for Eastern Europe and the Balkans
- Enosh, the Israel Mental Health Association
- Syrian Association for Mental Health
BRIEF REVIEW OF WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY
JIM BIRLEY SCHOLARSHIP
Syrian people were part of the “Arab Spring” and started an uprisal against their oppressive regime aiming for political change and freedom. The Syrian regime responded with extreme force and brutality from day one that led later on to what is now described as civil war.
An estimated 9 million people have fled their homes since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, taking refuge in neighbouring countries or within Syria itself. According to the United Nation UNHCR over 3 millions have fled to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
Traumatic events are common in people’s lives. In a WHO study of 21 countries, more than 10% of respondents reported witnessing violence (21.8%) or experiencing interpersonal violence (18.8%), accidents (17.7%), exposure to war (16.2%) or trauma to a loved one (12.5%) (Stein et al., 2009). Stress-related problems and disorders are also common. A meta-analysis of post-conflict studies using representative samples and full diagnostic assessment found that 15.4% of people reported posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 17.3% reported depression (Steel et al., 2009)...