Healing Trauma and Restoring Hope for Syrian Refugees
More than 646,000 Syrian refugees are now living in Jordan as a result of the civil war in their home country. The mental health and psychological challenges of war and displacement have lead to widespread anguish among this population, which UNHCR has declared a major crisis. According to recent reports, more than 54% percent of displaced Syrians, including children, have severe emotional disorders.
Thirty-two percent of Syrian refugee adults report feeling so hopeless they do not want to continue living, and 33% feel unable to carry out essential activities of daily living. Syrian families living in Jordan are dealing not only with previous exposure to war-related violence and loss, but also to their current, extremely stressful social and economic conditions. Meanwhile, burnout among refugee leaders and aid workers continues to mount.
Why it Matters
Many Syrians, particularly young people, are in urgent need of safe spaces to discuss their grief and traumatic experiences, to share the anger and fears that can overwhelm them.
The widespread level of despair among refugees is often a result of stress: when it is overwhelming or chronic and is unaddressed, stress disrupts every physiological function and contributes significantly to every major psychological and physical disorder, including posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, heart disease, cancer, immune disorders, and pain syndromes, as well as substance abuse. Left unaddressed, this level of population-wide anguish can easily lead to a chronically debilitated, angry and despairing population.
What CMBM is Doing
CMBM has laid the groundwork for a comprehensive, population-wide program of psychosocial support with Syrian refugees in Jordan. In 2016, CMBM conducted a series of intensive workshops for refugee leaders, aid workers and youth activists in our model of self-care and group support. Through these workshops, more than 500 participants have been exposed to CMBM’s model and its scientific basis.
Several leading refugee-serving organizations in Jordan are deeply interested in bringing our work to Syrian refugees. CMBM’s Mind-Body Skills Groups in Jordan will teach refugee children and families, as well as aid workers, healthcare workers and educators, self-care techniques including relaxed, focused breathing; guided imagery and biofeedback; and the use of words, drawing and movement for self-expression. Mind-Body techniques help children and adults enhance their mental and emotional functioning and build personal resilience by mobilizing a wide range of mental, emotional, imaginative, and physical abilities. Participants will learn clear, positive strategies to help them deal with psychological stressors. They will learn how to integrate these skills into their daily lives on an individual, interpersonal, and community-wide level.
“I wasn’t open to this before, but now I know how important self-care and mind-body medicine is for us. I feel these techniques bring balance in your life.”
How You Can Help
In 2017, The Center for Mind-Body Medicine will begin working with local partners to bring our scientifically validated program of psychological healing to Syrian refugee children and their families in Jordan on a larger scale. The program in Jordan will be implemented with CMBM’s local partner, The Noor Al- Hussein Foundation’s Institute for Family Health. It will proceed according to our proven model for working with war-affected populations, initially developed with Kosovo refugees in Macedonia, and refined in our Gaza program.
The Impact of Your Support
A small gift can make an enormous positive impact:
|$ 25||Sponsor training materials for a refugee leader or aid worker learning CMBM’s model of self-care and group support|
|$ 100||Sponsor a refugee attending a 10-weeklong mind-body skills group where he or she can process trauma and learn self-care in a safe setting|
|$ 250||Support a weekly Mind-Body Skills Group where 10 refugees can come together to address their stress and trauma|
|$ 1,000||Sponsor a daylong workshop in mind-body skills for aid workers delivering services to Syrian refugees through one of our non-governmental organization partners|