Seven years of grief: Syrian doctors and psychologists talk about the mental scars of war

UNICEF

Days before the grim 7-year mark of a conflict that has led to alarming levels of mental health problems, 21 Syrian social workers, psychologists and physicians gathered in Gaziantep, Turkey, near the Syrian border.

They came together to learn skills and standardized approaches so that they can teach the basics of helping people suffering from mental health conditions to a new cadre of psychosocial workers across northern Syria. Developed and organized by the WHO field office in Gaziantep, the training had a sense of urgency.

The participants primarily work in medical facilities in the provinces of Idleb and Aleppo, where specialists in mental health fields are extremely scarce, as are psychosocial workers, who provide invaluable support. As a result, they are overwhelmed with patients suffering from anxiety, depression and a host of other emotional and psychological problems.

Meet 4 of these health workers, who talk about the mental scars of the Syria crisis, spiralling caseloads and the urgent need for more counsellors.