Migrants and refugees in Greece facing a mental health emergency – aid agencies

admin   •   October 27, 2017   •   4938

Government figures show more than 14,500 people are living in five camps on the Greek islands, many waiting months for the completion of a sluggish asylum request process.

Aid organizations said that the mental health of migrants is deteriorating, with overcrowding, violence, abuse, idleness, a lack of sanitary conditions, and fear over an unknown future contributing to their suffering.

“Certainly in the last two months there has been a significant increase in people talking about suicide as a way to escape from this situation,” said Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) mental health activity manager on Samos Jayne Grimes.

“People have developed extremely severe anxiety disorders, stress, problem on behaviors,” she added.

On Samos island, some 2,500 migrants and refugees are crammed into a government camp that is made for only 700. Muhammad Ahlum, a Syrian refugee with two children, said he and his wife suffer from depression and see a psychiatrist to cope,” said Clement Perrin, head of mission for MSF in Greece.

“Even my children now are in a bad state. They don’t eat the food in the camp. They get really scared when there is noise or problems in the camp. Sometimes, they can’t sleep at night. Sometimes, they wake up screaming and crying,” said Muhammad Ahlum, a refugee from Aleppo, Syria.

Muahab Ashaad, who is from Syria, said that he regrets his decision to leave his hometown.

“If we knew it would be like this, we would have stayed under the bombing,” said Ashaad.

On Monday, 19 organizations sent a letter to Greece’s prime minister urging him to move asylum seekers out of the camps to the mainland.

According to Human Rights Watch, the government has begun the movement of refugees to camps are in a better state and there are also apartments and other accommodation available, but the group said it is not enough. — Reuters

Ilocos Norte opens mental health hotline, center

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 12, 2020

A mental health services hotline and center has been opened in Ilocos Norte to support the residents of the province amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In celebration of World Mental Health Day last October 10, the Ilocos Norte Provincial Government launched ‘Speak Up, I’m Here’ Center and Hotline to offer services for individuals suffering from mental health problems.

Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc said the help team consists of certified counseling professionals and assured that those in need of assistance will be provided support.

“So I hope we can establish a culture of openness, acceptance, and care, and all we support one another,” Manotoc said.

The hotline is open 24/7 and will offer free counseling and other mental health assistance.

Individuals can contact, 09219529236 for Smart/TNT/SUN or 09664610706 for Globe or TM. -AAC (with reports from Toto Fabros)

DOH, WHO encourages public to access free mental health course online

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 9, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging the public to enroll in the free online course about mental health.

The QualityRights Mental Health e-training course was developed by WHO and translated in Filipino in partnership with the DOH. It aims to improve access to quality mental health and social services.

Participants of the online course, according to the Health Department, will be able to improve their own mental health as well as support their friends and love ones who are experiencing mental health problems.

Interested individuals can register for free at http://bit.ly/QualityRightsPH.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III hopes the free online course will be able to help in addressing the mental health conditions and cognitive disabilities in the country.

“Mental health is a major public health concern that needs to be openly discussed and addressed. With the e-learning modules translated in Filipino, we hope to educate more people and facilitate more discussions that will ultimately help us understand and address the need of Filipinos with mental health conditions, and other intellectual and cognitive disabilities,” he said. AAC

NCRPO personnel’s mental health top priority—Sinas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 20, 2020

The mental health of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) personnel is top priority, according to NCRPO Chief PMGen. Debold Sinas.

According to Sinas, the NCRPO frontliners are facing anxiety and other psychological impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the consequent enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“Being in the frontlines, most of my men chose not to be in close contact with their families anymore to lessen the chances of possible contamination in their homes. The extension of this community quarantine is also agonizing for them,” he said.

Because of this, the NCRPO through its Regional Health Service, launched a Mental Health Awareness Program for its personnel.

The program aims to monitor the mental health of every personnel especially those who were deployed in the frontlines.

“Our personnel is our most important resource. This is why we want to ensure that they get to have the support that they deserve to fight the unseen enemy. It is our obligation to guarantee that they have enough rest, nourishment and psychological abetment to withstand the challenges ahead,” Sinas said. AAC


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