On the occasion of World Health Day, which is celebrated on 7 April, IMPR Humanitarian is drawing attention to the importance of increasing awareness on depression aiming to make people more aware of depression and the fact that it can be prevented and treated, to have people with depression seek help; and family, friends and colleagues of people living with depression able to provide support.
Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. But it is even more significant for the people who have been affected by war, forced displacement, loss and physical hardship. Depression is an issue that deeply affects refugees, not only in terms of their mental health but also their day-to-day functioning, protection and access to services.
Since a better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, helps to reduce the stigma associated with the condition and leads to more people seeking help, IMPR Humanitarian believes that with access to professional treatment, those with depression can get better. The way of achieving to more access for treatment of depression is to increase understanding of the depression and let those with depression to seek help. As refugees can also play a vital role in their own treatment, IMPR Humanitarian organized raising awareness session in its whole field offices and community centres.
Significant obstacles that cause depression among refugees are limited knowledge on accessing services, lack of self-reliance and the feelings of social exclusion. Improving relationships of refugees with the host communities by focusing coping mechanisms and empowering them can prevent the depression. To do that, during the awareness sessions importance and benefits of education for refugee children was explained and rights and services for refugees in Turkey were provided.
“The war in Syria has forced people to confront mental illness, but there is still a huge stigma around it. Many of them prefer to remain untreated than to seek help because they don’t know exactly what is it and what they should do. Thank you for this meeting,” Maher, one of the session participants, says.
Growing up is full of challenge and opportunity starting and changing in school. Some children take change in their stride. For others, like refugee children adaptation is harder and causing stress and even depression. Therefore, during the sessions It’s explained to the refugee families the importance of attention to their children’s wellbeing, talking and communicating with them, seeking advice from health-care providers, protecting them from excessive stress, maltreatment and violence.
During the sessions, information materials on how to understand and seek help for depression were distributed. The short video named “I had a black dog, his name was depression” to tells the story of those with depression and how to overcome it, was screened to beneficiaries. Participants were grateful for the session to understand the symptoms of depression and how to act to overcome. At the end of the sessions, information of IMPR’s mental health professionals and government services were also provided. Approximately 450 participants attended to the sessions.