Batoul’s road to recovery: WHO delivers quality mental health services to people in need – Syrian Arab Republic


October 10, 2021, Damascus – Before being moved to Al Hol camp in northeastern Syria, 28-year-old Batoul lived in the town of Al Bab in the countryside of Aleppo. She is well aware of how the sudden loss of home and loved ones can affect mental health and well-being.

“I was around 27 when I developed a serious psychological problem. I could hear a lot of powerful voices in my head and had a lot of suspicious thoughts. I suffered as I started to distrust everyone and lived in constant fear. I went down very quickly. It has become extremely difficult to take control of my life, and I remember acting weird, scaring people around me. I started hearing voices giving me orders and living with it even until today. To control the symptoms, I became addicted to self-harm, ”said Batoul, describing his suffering.

Batoul is among thousands of internally displaced people in Al Hol camp feeling anxious and uncertain about the future and constantly anxious. This state of mind has become “normal” for the inhabitants of the camp like Batoul.

With the support of WHO and in close coordination with health partners and camp management, Batoul was referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with schizophrenia and offered her a personalized treatment plan that did not compromise her confidentiality. nor his dignity. For over 9 months she was counseled by a WHO-supported community worker who looked after Batoul and helped her recover by ensuring she took timely medication, attends individual counseling sessions, participate in social skills development training and receive regular follow-up.

“Every day I struggled to get through the day. The treatment and care of the medical team has been very helpful, and my recovery and my life have changed for the better. Without this care and support, I would not have been here today leading a normal life. I received help to survive when I was struggling with my mental health issues, and I am very grateful to my doctor and the whole team, ”added Batoul.

This year alone, WHO has supported around 50,000 consultations across Syria through community projects and over 65,000 consultations through primary health centers, helping people living in urban, rural and difficult areas. to reach suffering from mental and physiological disorders. Since the onset of COVID-19, WHO and its partners have reached more than 333,000 children, the elderly and caregivers through mental health campaigns in the governorates of Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Lattakia, Tartous, Deir- Ez-Zor and rural Damascus, providing skills on how to cope with stress and fears, and tackle the stigma associated with COVID-19.

This year to date, WHO has delivered more than 323,000 treatment courses as part of therapeutic interventions for mental health problems, through health partners across the country, including in the north. -est of Syria. The current coverage of mental health care and psychosocial support services in functioning primary health care centers in Syria is 40%, one of the highest in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

“The health and mental well-being of Syrians, already troubled by years of war, have been worsened by the impact of COVID-19 and the country’s current economic situation. Addressing mental health and providing psychosocial support is integral to the work of the World Health Organization to protect those in need. We are working with our partners to ensure that the humanitarian health response is holistic and that mental health and psychological support are integrated, ”said Dr Akjemal Magtymova, Head of Mission and WHO Representative in Syria.

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