June 26th, 2022 ― Doha: The representation office of Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) in Gaziantep, Turkey, is working on a project to operate three mobile mental health clinics. With funding from the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health rapid response personnel are deployed to help those affected by COVID-19 in northwestern Syria.
The purpose of the project is to help reduce mental morbidity and improve the psychological conditions of the pandemic-affected population, by (1) improving coverage of appropriate mental health and psychosocial support services; (2) enhancing the integration of mental health and psychosocial support services provided by the targeted primary health care centers and mobile clinics; (3) including capacity-building and knowledge transfer for local staff and community health workers (CHWs) in accordance with the applicable international standards, guidelines, and protocols (WHO, UNICEF, and UNFPA); and (4) providing the equipment, medications, and facilities needed for the proper operation of such services.
Lasting until mid-October, the six-month project benefits a total of 9,600 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the host communities in several parts of northwestern Syria, such as Al-Bab, Salqin, and Darkush, including 480 persons with special needs.
According to WHO, it is estimated that one in 11 people (9%) living in a setting that has been exposed to conflict in the previous 10 years will have a moderate or severe mental disorder. Among people who have experienced war or other conflict, one in five people (22%) will have depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
The interagency mental health and psychosocial support
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s (IASC) COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) recommends six interventions in the context of mental health and psychosocial support response during the pandemic. It stresses special attention to older persons, children, and patients with noncommunicable diseases; eradication of social stigma; and social messages to raise awareness about mental health issues during the COVID-19 response.
The project provides integrated, high-quality, and culturally appropriate mental health and psychosocial support services, through three stationed and mobile mental health clinics targeting the local population, whether IDPs or the host communities, where access to mental health services is very low.
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About Qatar Red Crescent (QRCS)
Established in 1978, Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) is Qatar’s first humanitarian and volunteering organization that aims to assist and empower vulnerable individuals and communities without partiality or discrimination.
QRCS is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which consists of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and 192 National Societies. It is also a member of several GCC, Arab, and Islamic organizations, such as the Islamic Committee of International Crescent and the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization (ARCO). In this legally recognized capacity, QRCS has access to disaster and conflict zones, thus serving as an auxiliary to the State of Qatar in its humanitarian and social efforts — a role that distinguishes it from other local charities and NGOs.
Both locally and internationally, QRCS has relief and development operations in numerous countries throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central and South America. Its humanitarian mandates include disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and risk reduction. To mitigate the impact of disasters and improve the livelihoods of affected populations, QRCS provides medical services, food, water, shelter, and other needs of local communities. It is also active at the humanitarian diplomacy and advocacy front.
With the help of a vast network of trained, committed staff and volunteers, QRCS aspires to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity, inspired by the seven Fundamental Principles of humanitarian action: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.