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Jun 7, 2016

Creating New Connections

We are increasing our development of a full service psychosocial clinic in the residential building servicing 40 refugee families in Amman. With the full development of certificate and graduate education programs at two Jordanian Universities, the residence will serve as a placement site for students learning how to provide psychosocial programs addressing stress management, vocational skills, trauma informed care, medical and mental health services, and addressing special education needs. New equipment was purchased along with improved internet connection which allows for increased virtual education and medical/mental health consultation (telemedicine services).

SHC's goal has always been to build capacity for sustainable trauma informed care services. The establishment of the pilot clinic at the residential building is being viewed as a research model for duplication in other places serving the refugee population needs. Through our alliance with Michigan State University in the U.S. and Yarmouk University in Jordan, we will now be able to research what is working and what adjustments will be needed. In July, SHC staff members will be in Freiburg, Germany to share some of our training model with psychologists there trying to meet refugee mental health needs in their area. Additionally, we will be providing services with the refugee community. An alliance is being built between the German psychological community to share training with Jordanian students/volunteers/staff with SHC and for people in Jordan to help the German psychological community learn about how to create culturally sensitive services for the refugees there. It is an example of the collaborations and cross fertilization we are always working to create. We will be using this visit to build a conference set for November addressing the needs of the refugees in Germany and the Middle East. 

The needs of the children are diverse. We are working to help teachers/schools learn about how to address the special needs of students who may be experiencing PTSD or other forms of emotional trauma. At the beginning of the conflict, a large majority of the children were not in school. Over time, the numbers have increased and there have been problems with the children feeling bullied for being the "outsiders". In individual counseling and in working with staff, we have worked to empower the children with ways they can handle being bullied. In more and more situations, the Syrian children are attending Syrian only classes after regular school has occurred. This coming fall, we will have a number of trainers coming to the region to share training in expressive arts therapy with children. 

Mar 15, 2016

Expanding Our Reach

A key factor in the Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees program is building capacity of available trained professionals on the ground serving the trauma care needs of the refugee community. SHC has launched a collaborative effort with Jordanian universities and two U.S. universities ( Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and Michigan State University) to establish two major training initiatives. These training initiatives are on two tracks:

a. Establishing a diploma (certificate) program in social work with the U.S. universities providing certification of the training, curriculum support, and some virtual classes in partnership with Jordanian universities. Additionally, SHC will provide field experiences/supervision/and some trainings.

b. Establishing a graduate degree program in community psychology specifically designed for addressing the trauma care needs of the refugee populations in Jordan. SHC helped design the curriculum along with a faculty member of MidEast University/Jordan. With our partner American universities, we will be able to create a certified professional level degree offering classes on the ground and virtually as well as create field experiences for the students at sites in Jordan offering services to the refugee needs. What is common for many NGO's in the region is to hire BA level psychologists with little clinical training if any to address the psychosocial needs of the refugees. Both of the training programs help build an informed cadre of people to effectively address the overwhelming trauma treatment needs being witnessed.

Additionally, because of the growing migration crisis in Europe, SHC has been contacted by organizations in Greece and in Germany for help. Staff there are overwhelmed by the level of needs, their lack of cultural understanding and lack of training in how to address the needs they are witnessing. SHC staff will be going to Greece and Germany in July to provide training in cultural adaptation of trauma care services, crisis intervention, self care skills, stress management, nonviolent communication, and psychosocial support groups. While there, SHC will meet with cases referred for assessment and treatment. 

November 1-3, an International Conference on Communal Trauma and Forced Migration: Crisis in Europe and the Middle East has been scheduled in Freiburg, Germany. This conference marks the launch of a German-Jordanian Cross-training Project which brings trainings needed on both sides in trauma care and cultural sensitivity. IHPA,Common Bond, and SHC are sponsoring this conference to provide education on the psychosocial needs of the refugee populations and make recommendations to policy makers. 

Lastly, SHC continues to provide training and support to refugees in Jordan at our pilot site and other NGO's that we are working with collaboratively. New efforts are being put together to provide means of economic support/business development for a number of Syrian mothers now heads of household.

Dec 18, 2015

Opening a Pilot Clinic Site/ Concerts for Families

In October, SHC opened a pilot test site to provide services for widowed Syrian refugee mothers and their children. For four days, SHC staff and volunteers ran support groups for the mothers and provided extensive individual treatment for the mothers and for the children. Therapeutic play groups for the children were offered as well. This new site allows students trained in the SHC training programs to provide direct services and integrate trauma support skills they've been learning in the virtual and on the ground trainings. For the first time, we are able to offer ongoing psychosocial support services. Demand for our trainings continue to grow as the reality on the ground is there are few trained/able to provide any trauma informed care to a highly traumatized Syrian refugee population. We are in the beginning stages of negotiating with regional universities to help establish new university programs in community mental health and clinic psychology. There is a severe lack of training and services in the region. Linking students in the region to the professional trainings being offered through SHC has been a long standing goal of the program. SHC is committed to capacity building so the overwhelming trauma treatment needs within the refugee community can be met.

Additionally, we continue to bring in creative people to lift the spirits of the community. This year we were able to sponsor concerts ( via  for the refugee community in the Irbid, Jordan area and in Amman, Jordan. The concerts were high energy and brough many, many smiles to the children and their families. The performing artist  graciously brought his energy to the pilot clinic site and worked with the children in using music as a therapeutic tool. The performer who lives in India brought necklaces (see picture) made by street children in India for the Syrian refugee children. The necklaces were printed in English and Arabic. During one interaction with a Syrian adolescent , the young man was challenging whether there could ever be peace and that it was a pipe dream. In that conversation, a dialogue began about finding that peace with ourselves first. A light bulb went off in the young man's mind during that conversation and he stated he now "understood." He then passed out hundreds of the necklaces to refugees attending the concert.

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