Refugees ‘need trauma counselling’
Sunday 8th September 2013, 11:30AM BST.
An aid charity has warned of the growing numbers of Syrian refugees in need of trauma counselling following their experiences in the civil war.
The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) is urging Scots to donate cash to enable greater levels of emergency aid, including medical care and trauma counselling, to be provided to those in need.
A survey by SCIAF’s partner organisation Caritas Jordan has found that, of 950 Syrian men and women refugees aged between 18 and 60 in Jordan, one in five refugees are in need of some form of psychological therapy.
Jordan has become home to over 500,000 refugees, and latest figures show that over 146,800 Syrian people have been registered by the humanitarian charity.
SCIAF is working with Caritas Jordan to provide aid to refugees and Jordanians who have opened their home to help the new arrivals.
Caritas Jordan staff have received training in how to identify post-traumatic stress disorder and severe cases are referred to hospitals if they need intensive care.
SCIAF’s international programme manager with responsibility for the charity’s Syrian refugee emergency response, Robert Angove said: “Trauma counselling and help for new arrivals with psychological problems who have witnessed atrocities and bloody violence is an increasingly important aspect of our emergency response.
“While much of the refugees’ suffering is visible, many are also dealing with the terrible things they have seen or are constantly worried about family members who remain in Syria. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, neurosis and stress are common.
“The need is so great that SCIAF is issuing an urgent plea to everyone in Scotland to please give whatever you can to help the innocent, women, men and children whose lives have been devastated by this terrible conflict. Every penny donated will help to provide vital food, clean water, medical care and accommodation to the most vulnerable refugees and their hosts.”
Caritas Jordan psychologist Lana Snobar said: “The refugees need to be able to talk about their experiences. They need to express their fears. We try and get them to do activities that they find relaxing like sport or socialising.
“Some people who don’t get treatment can resolve their issues through prayer or with the support of their family. Others develop mild or high psychological disorders.”