How UNHCR is empowering Syrian refugees via psychological well being assist

How UNHCR is empowering Syrian refugees via psychological well being assist

Over the past 12 years, the Syrian individuals have endured conflict, displacement and heartbreak, leaving many with bodily and emotional scars. In line with the World Well being Group (WHO), people residing in protracted conflicts in nations like Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan and Syria are extra inclined to experiencing psychological well being points than these in non-conflict affected populations. The truth is, the WHO reviews that 22 % of people that have skilled conflict or different conflicts within the earlier 10 years will undergo from melancholy, anxiousness, post-traumatic stress dysfunction, bipolar dysfunction or schizophrenia.

In Syria, the prevalence of psychological well being situations is excessive, with roughly one in 10 individuals anticipated to be residing with gentle to reasonable psychological well being situations, and one in 30 affected by extra extreme situations resulting from extended publicity to battle.

For a lot of displaced Syrians, the journey doesn’t finish when they’re resettled in a brand new nation. The lack of neighborhood, household and residential can create a way of hopelessness and despair that persists lengthy after they discover security. Moreover, rebuilding a life in a brand new nation, studying a brand new language and navigating unfamiliar methods can take a further toll on their psychological well being.

For hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians, the final 12 years have been devastating and new displacements attributable to disasters and different crises, such because the COVID-19 pandemic and financial turmoil, have additional exacerbated psychological well being wants. 

Regardless of these difficult circumstances, displaced people just like the Al-Hleil household, Nidal and Khalsa have obtained the care they want—with the assistance of UNHCR—and have been in a position to overcome a lot within the face of adversity.

The Al-Hleil Household

How UNHCR is empowering Syrian refugees via psychological well being assistWithin the early days of the battle in Syria, Hala, her husband and their youngsters had been pressured to flee their residence in Hama, Syria, resulting from elevated violence within the area. The household sought refuge in Lebanon, however their struggles had been removed from over.

Because the battle of their nation continued to tug on yr after yr, their sources in Lebanon grew to become more and more stretched and their money owed started to pile up. 

Hala’s three older youngsters had been pressured to make the tough determination to drop out of faculty, and her eldest son, sixteen-year-old Amer, started working to complement his father’s revenue. Alongside the trauma of displacement and conflict, the impacts of their battle started to take a toll on the household’s psychological well being.

“One factor after one other, the whole lot that I’ve achieved within the final six to seven years is gone, nothing left,” says Hala’s husband Yasser. “The state of affairs could be very laborious, it acquired inside us, the youngsters had been affected and depressed.” 

When the pandemic hit, the household was pushed additional to the brink. As a result of COVID-19 lockdown, the Lebanese economic system took a downward spiral, pushing many Syrian refugees just like the Al-Hleil household additional into poverty.

Each Yasser and his son misplaced their jobs in the course of the pandemic, leaving the household struggling to place meals on the desk and fearing eviction from their small damp condominium, which left two of their youngest affected by extreme bronchial asthma.

The household’s psychological well being suffered significantly due to the state of affairs, with Hala usually spending days unable to get away from bed and each her and her son experiencing suicidal ideas. 

“It is like we’re residing a day by day conflict,” says Yasser. “A silent, home conflict,” he continues.

Due to a UNHCR accomplice in Lebanon, Hala obtained psychosocial assist to assist her address the melancholy she was experiencing, and for the primary time in a very long time, she will sit up for particular moments along with her youngsters.


Syrian Kurdish refugee Nidal on the Greek island of ChiosIn 2019, 20-year-old Kurdish refugee Nidal arrived on the Greek island of Chios together with his household, after fleeing from the battle in Syria. Upon arrival, his dad and mom and youthful siblings had been granted asylum, permitting them to lastly depart the island. Nonetheless, Nidal’s asylum declare was nonetheless pending. His declare was later rejected twice. “It was the strongest blow,” says Nidal. 

Pressured to flee his residence and separated from his household, Nidal’s bodily and psychological state started to deteriorate.

“I attempted to sleep at night time in order to not assume, however I couldn’t. I had no need for meals or life. I used to be afraid of being despatched again to Turkey,” he explains.

With an unsure future looming over him, UNHCR stepped in and offered Nidal with authorized help via their accomplice, the Greek Council for Refugees. Nidal was in a position to obtain steering and counsel from his lawyer, Katerina, and in November 2021, he was granted refugee standing and his psychological state started to enhance. 

He and his household had been in a position to reunite and at the moment are acknowledged as refugees. Alongside progress together with his psychological well being, Nidal’s bodily well being has additionally improved, and he’s wanting ahead to changing into unbiased and pursuing his dream of changing into a automobile mechanic.

“I acquired quite a lot of psychological assist,” shares Nidal. “I owe the constructive asylum determination to Katerina,” he shares.


psychologist dr. Bashara and her patient KhaslaDr. Manar Bashara is a psychologist who works on the psychological well being clinic in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. Every single day, she sees roughly 5 sufferers, offering them with counseling and assist.

In line with Dr. Bashara, psychological well being issues amongst refugees have developed over time from post-traumatic stress to anxiety-based points. To assist her sufferers, a lot of whom are Syrian refugees, like Khalsa, she makes use of cognitive behavioral remedy and likewise employs narrative remedy, rest strategies and problem-solving abilities.

For Khalsa, these companies are very important as she continues to cope with the trauma of conflict and displacement. In 2016, Khalsa fled Aleppo, Syria and was internally displaced for eight months earlier than arriving at Azraq. By then, she had been severely affected by the trauma she had skilled.

Due to UNHCR and docs like Dr. Bashara, Khalsa was in a position to proceed to obtain the care and help she wanted, even in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving her hope for a brighter future. 

“Earlier than coronavirus, I used to see Manar as soon as per week,” says Khalsa. “In the course of the lockdown, she could not come to the camp, however she did not miss appointments – we talked by way of telephone. If I’ve a panic assault, I do know I can name her. She helps me keep calm.”

How UNHCR is constructing brighter futures for displaced Syrians via psychological well being assist.

In collaboration with its companions, UNHCR is dedicated to offering psychological well being companies for refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced individuals (IDPs).

In Syria, UNHCR has a long-standing apply of delivering psychological well being and psychosocial assist via community-based networks. This method was first carried out when the nation first started internet hosting a whole bunch of 1000’s of Iraqi refugees, previous to the onset of the Syrian battle. UNHCR’s main technique of delivering psychological well being companies is thru neighborhood outreach volunteers. These volunteers are skilled to determine people in want of psychological well being and psychosocial assist companies (MHPSS), safely refer them for applicable companies and supply mandatory follow-ups.

This method continues to be one of many cornerstones of UNHCR’s work in Syria and has expanded to incorporate IDPs and host communities all through the area.

As of 2021, UNHCR has supported 130 neighborhood and satellite tv for pc facilities all through the nation and has established a system of roughly 3,000 volunteers, 700 of whom are specialised in psychosocial assist and have been skilled in primary psychosocial abilities and psychological first help.

How one can assist…

Because the disaster in Syrian enters its twelfth yr and the individuals of Syria proceed to face devastation and heartbreak, psychological and psychosocial assist is required now greater than ever. 

Along with the continuing disaster, many displaced Syrian households had been impacted by the February sixth earthquakes and now require very important help in addition to psychological well being companies to deal with the trauma attributable to the earthquake. 

By changing into USA for UNHCR’s latest month-to-month donor, you may assist present important assist for weak displaced Syrian households.