The ongoing Syrian civil war ranks as the worst humanitarian catastrophe in modern times. More than half of the citizens of Syria have been forcibly displaced, with nearly 8 million people internally displaced and 4.5 million refugees, most having ed to the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. More than half of forcibly displaced people are children, and of these, nearly 75% are under the age of 12.
This report, prepared for UNHCR in 2015, provides information on the sociocultural background of the Syrian population as well as cultural aspects of mental health and psychosocial wellbeing relevant to care and support. it is based on an extensive review of the available literature on mental health and psychosocial support, within the context of the current armed conflict in Syria.[http://mhpss.net/?get=250/culture_mental-health_syrians-final1.pdf]
This Info-Sheet from School Mental Health ASSIST is designed to provide introductory information for educators in supporting the mental health and well-being of newcomer students. This will be a reminder for some, but may be new information for those working in schools that are less accustomed to welcoming immigrant and refugee families. The resource is organized to support a planful, whole school approach that recognizes that (1) good settlement experiences are essential for good mental health, (2) newcomers from war-torn countries are typically resilient and possess many intrinsic strengths that they can draw upon as they transition to their new life in Canada, and (3) in spite of best efforts, some students will experience mental health difficulties, so we need to be ready to notice the signs and to ensure seamless pathways to specialized support in the school board and community. All school staff and students have a role to play in helping newcomers to feel welcome and supported.
This practice article discusses preventive primary care for a newly arrived Syrian refugee family. The recommendations for preventive interventions have been adapted for newly arriving asymptomatic Syrian refugees from the Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health (CCIRH) guidelines and other guidelines. They take into account the findings of European surveillance reports, as Europe has received nearly 600,000 Syrian refugees in the past year alone. [CMAJ February 16, 2016 vol. 188 no. 3
Based on the report commissioned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this paper aims to inform mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) staff about some of the main issues related to mental health and psychosocial wellbeing faced by Syrians who are internally displaced and Syrian refugees. [G. Hassan, P. Ventevogel, H. Jefee-Bahloul, A. Barkil-Oteo & L. J. Kirmayer (2016). Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 25(2):2129 – 141 DOI: 10.1017/S2045796016000044, Published online: 01 February 2016.]
Resources for clinicians caring for Syrian refugees
Network of physicians offering medical aid to Syrians
The Syrian Telemental Health Network is an international collaboration between institutions and NGOs to help deliver mental health consultations, education, and training to enhance capacity-building efforts for health care workers in the Syrian conflict setting. This website includes information about the network, and resources for active members and partners, in addition to connections for institutions who would like to join this non-profit effort. [Site in English and Arabic]