Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Iraq

Mosul children in desperate need of psychological support after years of conflict

By Rudaw 5/7/2017
Displaced Iraqi children, who fled the ongoing Mosul offesnive, pose for the camera at the Hasan Sham camp , 30 kilometres east of the city. Photo: AFP/Ahmad Gharabli
Displaced Iraqi children, who fled the ongoing Mosul offesnive, pose for the camera at the Hasan Sham camp , 30 kilometres east of the city. Photo: AFP/Ahmad Gharabli

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Years of conflict has scarred many of Mosul's children for life and they are in desperate need of mental health services warns Save the Children organization.

 
A Save the Children report based on studying 65 children and published on Wednesday shows that the brutal fighting and years under ISIS rule in Mosul has left children with “dangerous levels” of psychological damage.
 
Experts have found that children are so deeply scarred by their memories of extreme violence that they are numb and unable to show emotions, suffer from vivid nightmares and live in constant fear of their lives.
 
The research is based on focus group discussions with 65 children now living in a displacement camp south of Mosul. It is the largest study to date regarding the impact of the Mosul conflict on children’s mental health.
 
All children displayed signs of “toxic stress” which is the most dangerous stress response causing children’s minds to constantly be in “fight or flight” mode.
 
If left untreated, toxic stress can lead to a life-long impact on both physical and mental health with increased vulnerability to heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
 
The biggest cause of distress in children was the loss of a loved one. Ninety percent of the children have lost at least one family member due to death, abduction or separation from family during their escape.
 
Nearly all of the children showed “robotic” behavior and were slow to understand instructions. They also refused to play or even show emotions.
 
Several children said they had witnessed family members being killed by ISIS in front of them, saw dead bodies and blood in the streets and lived through bombs destroying their homes. Others also shared stories of their family members being shot by ISIS snipers, killed in landmines or hit by explosives as they attempted to flee to safety.
 
Many children spoke about the constant threat of punishment from ISIS for going against their rules, as well as family members being killed or imprisoned for doing so.
 
Save the Children’s Senior Mental Health Advisor for the Middle East, Dr. Marcia Brophy said, “What was striking was how introverted and withdrawn children have become. They rarely even smiled. It was as though they had lost the ability to be children.”
 
“Their time under ISIS, and making a life-or-death escape, has taken a truly terrible toll,” she added.

The support of parents and family is important in helping children cope with the mental stress they have gone through, however many parents themselves are so psychologically affected that they are unable to provide comfort to their children.

“These children are not going to heal in weeks, or even months. They’ll need support for years to come,” said Brophy.

Domestic violence has also increased in the came as a result of ongoing anger and sadness by Mosul’s displaced. More than 85% of the children reported being beaten or had witnessed others beaten.

However, the charity group is extremely underfunded only having 2% of the funds needed for their mental health program. Due to underfunding, they are unable to provide the much needed psychological support for children or their parents.

Save the Children is calling on the Iraqi Government to increase investment in training child psychologists and counselors as well as for international donors to urgently and significantly increase their support for mental health assistance.

Save the Children’s Iraq Country Director, Ana Locsin, said, “Children escaping Mosul have gone through horror piled upon horror. They have been starved and abused inside the city. Explosive weapons have been dropped in narrow streets by all sides with little regard to their impact. But the impact on children is clear: even if they make it out alive they are left scarred and broken. And right now, that’s what Mosul’s future looks like.”
 
“Life-saving aid like shelter, food and water are crucial in this crisis – but to help children recover and rebuild after their ordeals psychological support must be considered a priority. The world must do more to repair the damage,” she added.
3849 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

The Reader | 12/14/2018 8:31:48 PM
He is living among us , he is inspiring us.May god bring us peace and freedom .
Pliny the Kurs | 12/14/2018 8:35:44 PM
His example lives on
Sheikh Abdulsalam’s vision for Kurdistan still inspires 104 years later
| yesterday at 11:04 | (3)
Mohamedzzz | 12/14/2018 5:17:34 PM
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH My God, I can't believe US is betraying Kurds again.
Falcon | 12/14/2018 6:04:12 PM
This sounds like a third class movie plot. America let the Turks cash in the Kurds in exchange for turkey to attack Saudi Arabia because of its...
Erdogan, Trump agree to enhance coordination in Syria
| yesterday at 06:58 | (2)
Mohamedzzz | 12/14/2018 5:28:20 PM
As long as Western powers look the other way, Turkey don't give a damn about Baghdad, Kurds should take their destiny in their own hands or they will...
Baghdad summons Turkish envoy to answer for deadly airstrikes
| yesterday at 07:44 | (1)
Arabs will become Turkish slaves again | 12/14/2018 2:54:50 PM
Kurds always adapt, they will survive this one as well and come out stronger as they always do. The Arabs on the other hand are digging their own...
Mohamedzzz | 12/14/2018 5:06:11 PM
Kurds are brothers as long as they accept to obey and live as 2nd. and 3rd. class citizens and they do not demand their free Kurdistan.
The Turkish state and Kurds — incompatible since 1923
| yesterday at 03:55 | (4)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Christians and Turkmen vie for top jobs in new KRG 5 hours ago |

Christians and Turkmen vie for top jobs in new KRG

They are calling for "real participation in the more
‘Unilateral’ moves in Syria will undermine ISIS fight, EU warns Turkey  6 hours ago |

‘Unilateral’ moves in Syria will undermine ISIS fight, EU warns Turkey

Erdogan warned on Wednesday he will soon deploy more
UN should revive ‘stillborn’ mediation on Kirkuk, disputed territories: ICG 8 hours ago |

UN should revive ‘stillborn’ mediation on Kirkuk, disputed territories: ICG

"Another violent spasm is just a matter of time" more
0.203 seconds