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A Brief on the 4th Syrian Association Mental Health Conference

6 May, 2016

The Children and War Foundation took part in the 4th annual conference held by the Syrian Association for Mental Health (SAMH).  The conference was held in Gaziantep, Turkey on the 23rd and 24th April 2016 and was focused on mental health care for Syrians, in and out of Syria.

Unni Marie Heltne and Dr. Masa Al-kurdi presented a one-hour lecture on behalf of the Foundation about the Teaching Recovery Techniques manual.  Unni began the lecture by giving a brief on the CAW and the history behind the TRT manual.  Dr. Masa went on to give a brief on the TRT implementation with Syrian’s since 2012 and presented details of the recent TRT implementation in Bekaa, Lebanon. The presentation included details of the TRT training, implementation plans and data collection.  A review of the pre-post findings was presented and future directions for the TRT were presented.

The TRT program over the years has gained a lot of attention with Syrians and has spread widely across Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and more recently to Saudi Arabia.  As a result, to its success, the TRT was a central discussion throughout the conference.  A few important outcomes for the Syrian TRT from the conference were:

  • Setting up a management team for the Syrian TRT implementation.
  • Developing a platform to follow-up with TRT implementers.
  • Support in developing distant learning materials to reach isolated areas and blocked-off areas inside Syria.
  • Developing more support documents and material to help trainees in implementation.
  • Further training for trainers (ToT)
  • Developing TRT clusters – enhance communication, and enable further quality training.
  • Technical group – representatives, from different organisations who are implementing the TRT, meet once a month to give feedback and provide support – also exchange surveys.
  • Development of modern and efficient tools or technologies for data entry and analyses of pre-post surveys.
  • Need for research publications on the TRT with Syrians.

A special thanks goes to everyone who supported the CAW’s involvement in the conference.  Thanks goes to SAMH for hosting us during our stay at the conference, and finally thanks to Sarya Abdo for capturing our presentation in his photographs.


By: Dr. Masa Al-kurdi

May, 2016