Little Amal Highlights Importance of Mental Health for Refugees | Information
News article | 18-11-2021 | 18:40
Little Amal is a 3.5 meter tall doll that symbolizes a 10 year old Syrian refugee. Little Amal made a remarkable journey from Gaziantep, near the Turkish-Syrian border, to Manchester in the United Kingdom. During her travels, she also called for mental health awareness among refugee children. This week she arrived in The Hague.
Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) should be part of our humanitarian and crisis response, so that people can once again take care of themselves and others. It is just as important as providing food, water and shelter. If there is no attention and care for the lived experiences of refugees, it is difficult for them to rebuild their lives. Mental and psychosocial needs are often less visible than physical needs. But they can be just as deadly. Research has shown that people in crisis benefit from targeted psychological and psychosocial support. It can save lives. Much of the MHPSS is the treatment and prevention of psychological disorders. Examples include depression, anxiety, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Children and young people are much more affected.
The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is committed to SMSPS at national and international levels. Little Amal was welcomed today by Marriet Schuurman, Director of Stability and Humanitarian Aid (DSH) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Little Amal called for more attention to be paid to the psychosocial conditions of refugee children at the UNHCR senior officials meeting, held in Geneva later this year. She presented Marriet with a letter with this request, as well as a photo book of her trip. In return, Marriet gifted Amal with “My Hero, It’s You,” a children’s storybook that is helping children around the world cope with the hardships and anxieties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amal ended her visit with a “Team-up” session with Dutch schoolchildren. A program that meets the urgent needs of refugee children.