Caritas: psychological trauma for Syrian refugees

2013-09-03 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Syrians caught up in the civil war face lasting psychological trauma, as well as violence and deprivation.

Caritas Internationalis talked about the situation in Syria, and about the situation of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, in its annual report published last July. It also issued a statement last Friday calling for dialogue as the only possible solution to the Syrian crisis, and warning against military intervention.

Patrick Nicholson, Head of Communications for Caritas Internationalis in Rome, spoke to Giulia Cirillo about the detrimental effects of life on the front line, and about Caritas’ efforts to support Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Listen to the full interview:

"The situation in Syria is getting worse and worse. Our partners there talk about a people desperate fore peace. There's a lack of healthcare, a lack of education, the impact of the economic crisis is causing huge problems for people, there's no fuel, no electricity, food is expensive.

And then of course those people on the front line are experiencing trauma on a huge level. They're seeing family members and friends killed, there's lots of kidnapping, there's abuse of women, so the situation in Syria is a bleak one.

For the refugees who've fled Syria, we have a number of clinics. We find out what issues they're facing, and the ones who are expressing trauma or psychological problems, we provide counselling for them, or we refer them to specialist psychiatric treatment in hospitals. We take, for example, vulnerable women or children into special shelters where they receive the treatment that they need.

The level of need is huge. The level of trauma experience is huge. When I was in Lebanon just last month I met several people who were suffering from post-traumatic stress - children who couldn't go to sleep properly, who had bad dreams, who were frightened of being alone, who were frightened of the dark, ones who really needed some kind of trauma treatment."