Outreach: Healing Trauma

Through Arwad’s outreach and the support of the phychiatric clinic in Mafraq, Ghana was able to recover from the trauma of war.

Ghana is a Syrian refugee girl living in Irbid, North Jordan. At age 5, Ghana is one of thousands victims of war. Her childhood was taken from her at a young age, and she is no longer a carefree child who plays with her friends and family. She was exposed to a brutal environment where murder and rape were rampant. As a result, Ghana began to suffer severe depression and anxiety that caused her to alienate herself from her family and friends, and her psychological state quickly deteriorated.

The power of outreach concentrates on providing services to populations who might not otherwise have access. A key component of outreach is that the groups providing it are mobile; in other words, they are meeting those in need of outreach services where they are. Arwad Oweir, one of IRD’s community health workers, met Ghana while she was making home visits in Mafraq. During her visit, she observed Ghana’s psychological health and witnessed the fear and sadness in Ghana’s eyes. Arwad was told by Ghana’s parents that she had become increasingly withdrawn and refused to be enrolled in any kindergarten. The family had been been searching for help but didn’t know where to go.

In addition to delivering essential assistance, outreach has an educational role in raising awareness about existing services. When Arwad met Ghana, she informed her parents about the services provided at the local health clinics and referred them to a psychiatric clinic in Mafraq. Arwad accompanied Ghana and her mother to the clinic, where Ghana was diagnosed with severe depression by a specialist and prescribed medications and several psychiatric sessions. In addition, the doctor sat down with Ghana’s mother and explained to her how to help Ghana at home throughout her healing process in order to provide her with the best environment for a quick recovery.

Arwad’s support didn’t stop there. She continued to visit Ghana on a regular basis until she started witnessing positive changes. Ghana became more sociable, happier and less anxious. Moreover, she recently began kindergarten, and is finally living a healthy normal childhood.

The Health Support for Iraqi and Syrian Refugees is funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and implemented by IRD.


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