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Inter-agency coordination of mental health and psychosocial support for refugees and people displaced in Syria

Eloul, Liyam; Quosh, Constanze; Ajlani, Rawan; Avetisyan, Naira; Barakat, Mouta; Barakat, Lidia; Ikram, Mohammad Waleed; Shammas, Louay; Diekkamp, Victoria

doi: 10.1097/WTF.0000000000000011
Special Section on Syria

The current crisis in Syria has greatly escalated need, while simultaneously damaging infrastructure within the country. In order for humanitarian efforts to be effective, understanding the mental health profile of the population concerned, pre-existing mental health system, resources and gaps, as well as an evaluation of the current service situation is vital. This paper provides an analysis of the shifting resources and infrastructure available to the affected populations in Syria, complementing the systematic review of mental health outcomes elsewhere in this issue. Assessment results from Syria are presented, and capacities and gaps assessed. This article describes how previous, protracted humanitarian and development centred inter-agency efforts to evaluate and improve the mental health and psychosocial system in Syria can be applied as a foundation, and adjusted to address the current internally displaced persons and refugee crises in the country.

Liyam Eloul (MA), worked as Associate Community Services Officer (Psychosocial) with the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Programme, UNHCR Syria. email:

Constanze Quosh (MSc) was head of the Mental Health and Support Psychosocial Programme of UNHCR in Syria from 2008 to 2013. She is currently the urban refugee programming specialist for UNHCR in Sudan.

Rawan Ajlani (MSc), was a Psychosocial Case Worker of the MHPSS Programme UNHCR Syria from 2009 to 2011.

Naira Avetisyan (MD), worked at UNICEF Syria Office as Child Protection Specialist, Head of Child Protection Section (2010–2012).

Mouta Barakat (PhD) was assistant professor in Mental Health at the Psychological Counseling Department, University of Damascus, from 1994 to 2012. He has worked as a psychotherapist in private practice, and as expert and trainer for various Syrian institutions.

Lidia Chylewska-Barakat (PhD), worked with the Terre des hommes Lausanne and SSCC in Syria as a psychotherapist and trainer

Mohammad Waleed Ikram (MD), is the Medical Director of the International Medical Corps in Syria.

Louay Shammas (MD), worked as a psychiatrist with multidisciplinary mental health teams of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Terre des hommes / SSCC (since 2009 in Syria).

Victoria Diekkamp (MA), works for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as Senior Manager. She worked for the EU financed Health Sector Modernisation Program in Syria from 2008 to 2010.

© 2013 War Trauma Foundation, Diemen, The Netherlands