STRENGTHS: Scaling up psychological interventions with Syrian Refugees
When a country receives a high number of refugees, there are challenges to be met. One of the challenges is to provide mental health care to people who are very vulnerable.
This challenge is felt by the countries hosting refugees from Syria. There is a lack of Arabic speaking mental health professionals to provide mental health care on the scale that it is needed.
The STRENGTHS project will train Syrian refugees to provide a mental health intervention called Problem Management+ (PM+) to fellow Syrian refugees. PM+ is developed by the WHO. It is a short programme that does not target a single disorder. Instead it targets symptoms of common mental disorders.
PM+ for individuals has already been successfully tested and implemented in Pakistan and Kenya and is being implemented in several other settings.
The STRENGTHS project will translate, adapt, test and implement the PM+ programmes Individual, Group, Early Adolescent Skills for Emotions (EASE) and an internet delivered version.
But the project will go further than that.
It is not enough to know if an intervention works or not. It is also necessary to understand how it can be implemented in the specific context, and whether it is cost effective or not. STRENGTHS will also attempt to answer these questions in eight different countries in Europe and the MENA region.
After a year of preparation our programme is starting to make an impact for Syrian refugees. Having recently kicked off our first pilot trial in the Netherlands, the first supervision session took place in May 2018 in Rotterdam. During these sessions our Syrian helpers will report back on their experiences with the first few Problem Management Plus (PM+) individual sessions.