'Against all odds': UNHCR's mental health and and psychosocial support programma for Iraqi refugees and internally displaced Syrians
Harrison, S., Dahman, R., Ismail, M., Saada, E., Hassan, M., Hassan, R., … & Schilperoord, M. (2013). ‘Against all odds’: UNHCR's mental health and psychosocial support programme for Iraqi refugees and internally displaced Syrians. Intervention, 11(2), 190-194.
Intensified fighting and insecurity in Damascus has limited the ability of the Iraqi refugees, displaced Syrians, partners and staff to physically access many of the fixed facilities offering mental health and psychosocial services. Those that do, have to travel substantial distances through checkpoints and ‘hot areas’. However, before the conflict in 2011, UNHCR Syria was already in the area, operating a comprehensive mental health and psychosocial support programme for Iraqi refugees, building on the resources and capacities of the refugee population. In 2012, this programme was opened to support Syrians affected by conflict through a mixture of (mobile) individualised case management, family and community level supports provided by outreach volunteers, and targeted assistance to displaced persons living in collective shelters. So, while not making the headlines, the quiet, day-to-day activities of humanitarian workers providing mental health and psychosocial support services to an increasingly distressed population continue, against all odds.