Before fleeing Syria and during the journey to Turkey, many Syrians have witnessed or experienced the death of loved ones, physical harm, violent and terrifying situations. The psychological impact of conflict-related violence coupled with the ongoing stressors related to displacement can have a significant impact on the mental health and psychosocial well-being of Syrian refugee adults and children. Some of these ongoing challenges include lack of resources, risks of exploitation, violence, discrimination, disruption of social networks, and lack of livelihood options. These challenges can result in a sense of hopelessness, which in turn contribute to psychological distress, increased family violence, diminished sense of dignity and control, and a reliance on negative coping skills (Hassan, Kirmayer, & Mekki-Berrada, 2015). Pre-existing mental health conditions may be exacerbated, or psychosocial distress may be brought on by daily stressors (Hassan et al., 2015). As the conflict shifts into a protracted crisis, it is important to gain and understanding of Syrian culture-specific expressions of distress, healing practices, and coping strategies. Understanding the way in which Syrians may experience and cope with psychological distress and mental health problems can offer practitioners insight into how to be the most helpful. This can be used to develop programming that is most effective for the Syrian refugee population, shaping community initiatives to promote resilience and increase the use of positive coping mechanisms.
In 2018, UNHCR considered prioritizing the response for children identified at higher risk, as a part of its priority activities, UNHCR concentrates on this priority through a child protection systems-building approach. UNHCR’s capacity development for staff and partners emphasizes best interest procedures as part of the individual Case Management System.