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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 249-264

Takamol: multi-professional capacity building in order to strengthen the psychosocial and mental health sector in response to refugee crises in Syria

Psychosocial and Mental Health Coordinator, UNHCR Syria

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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The massive influx of Iraqi refugees into Syria in 2006 put an immense strain on the already under-resourced mental health sector. This prompted a consortium of international agencies to create an Interagency Working Group (IAWG) in 2008, with the goal of national capacity building. This Interagency Working group merged into a National Advisory Board that included the Syrian government. An integrated one-year master training programme for mental health professionals was designed. The first cohort of master trainers successfully completed the programme, and started to train frontline worker with very good results. There has been widespread advancement in awareness of integrated psychosocial and mental health approaches, multi-professional teamwork and training methodology among practitioners. This has translated into practical projects improving the quality of care for beneficiaries. In addition, comprehensive training curricula and a bilingual handbook have been drafted with the goal of integrating and streamlining psychosocial, mental health and training methodology. Initial steps have also been taken to create a unified National Mental Health and Psychosocial Council.

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