International Community Should Work With Local Organizations To Address Mental Health Challenges Caused By Conflict In Syria

The Conversation: Why ignoring mental health needs of young Syrian refugees could harm us all
M. Zaher Sahloul, associate clinical professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and senior adviser of the Syrian American Medical Association

“…[T]he world should pay attention to the future of Syria by lending a healing hand to its traumatized children. … To many Syrians, there is a sense that the world has deserted Syrians. The resulting depression, PTSD, suicidal tendencies, severe aggression, and other mental illnesses that result from these horrors are invisible wounds that are not being detected early enough, let alone treated efficiently, in Syria and beyond. … As the number of out-of-school children looms both inside Syria and in host countries, these invisible wounds won’t be healed unless large humanitarian groups and U.N. agencies team up with local and grassroots organizations inside Syria and out. They need to address the mental health and public health challenges in parallel with educational programming. … [T]reating these wounds would be an investment that will pay in the form of counterextremism and reduction of conflict and hostility…” (1/30).

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