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Mental health of refugees and displaced persons in Syria and surrounding countries: a systematic review

Quosh, Constanze; Eloul, Liyam; Ajlani, Rawan

doi: 10.1097/WTF.0000000000000013
Special Section on Syria

Over the past two years, Syria went from being the third largest refugee hosting country in the world to the largest refugee producing country. This article provides the findings of a systematic literature review on the mental health and psychosocial support context, and the mental health profile of refugees (primarily Iraqi) and civilians in Syria. This review covers two periods: the complex refugee emergency that started in 2006 as a result of war in Iraq, and the current internal displacement and acute complex emergency starting in 2011. The systematic review of the published and grey literature on the mental health profiles of Iraqi and Syrian refugees and those Syrians who have been internally displaced includes complementing analyses of the needs and resources of different affected populations, using assessment results from Syria and surrounding refugee hosting countries. The problematic lack of recent literature is noted, and the need for more rigorous assessments, applied research and accessible grey literature identified.

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

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

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

© 2013 War Trauma Foundation, Diemen, The Netherlands