The ongoing conflict in Syria has caused the death of thousands of people and the forced displacement of millions, both within and outside the country. Nevertheless the people who remain in Syria continue to experience atrocities of war and are at high risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder. The mental health workers in Syria are also in urgent need for guidance and support that could facilitate them to treat effectively the growing number of traumatized people.
In May 2016 members of vivo international traveled to Beirut to offer a NET training to mental health professionals working with the affected populations all over Syria. This training was one of the activities developed for the EU funded project Bel Salameh coordinated and delivered by ABAAD, an international NGO based in Lebanon. The Bel Salameh project aims to strengthen resilience and peace in Syria through an extended program of MHPSS capacity building.
The participants were psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors from different governmental and non-governmental organizations in Syria, such as the International Medical Corps and the International Rescue Committee and the WHO from Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Damascus and other places.
The participants contributed with their own experiences to the enrichment of the training and they showed great excitement in practicing as much as they could. Our participants shared their views on the potential impact NET could have on their work and this was indeed very hopeful and satisfactory. In the post training assessment one participant stated: “This is kind one of training that touches you deeply. It is a little painful to realize how traumatized everyone I know and I love is in Aleppo”. Through the same assessment the need for supervision emerged, as well as the intensification of capacity building activities within Syria, in order to deal with the increasing needs of the population.