This World Mental Health Day, we wanted to highlight a core aspect of our long-term emergency response activities in North West Syria and Turkiye, that has been focused on providing safe spaces, psycho-social support and play areas/activities for the adults and children affected by the devastating earthquakes in February this year.
Often, with immediate emergency response activities, the core short-term focus falls on the provision of food, shelter, clean water and medication, and mental health support becomes sidelined. Yet, the psychological impact of a disaster on this scale cannot be understated. For young children especially, the deep internal wounds they will now face can have crippling effects on their emotional and mental wellbeing as their day-to-day lives are destabilised and turned upside down.
Right now in Syria, we are working in the Jinderes IDP camps, which has now increased due to population displacement of earthquake victims. At least 700 additional tents were added and are at capacity with Syrians affected by the earthquake. Here,
- We are providing a psychologist and case worker to offer much needed psycho-social support for children and adults that is currently missing in the Jindires IDP camp/area.
- We are working towards providing a safe space for indoor and outdoor play areas for children in Jindires IDP camp who currently have nowhere to play or go.
And in Turkiye, alongside psycho-social support provided, a ‘Friendship’ Tent was set up specifically for the young children affected by the earthquakes in Kahramanmaras, whilst across all the cities we are working in, our staff are providing them with games, film nights, art supplies, balloons, sport activities and a safe space to play together.
As our team in Turkiye say: ‘we continue to work, so that the children can laugh’.
- Find out more about our Turkiye/Syria Response work here.
- Click here for our blog ‘Responding to a Health Emergency’ to learn more about our approach to an emergency and how our response is deeply embedded in the charity’s values.
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