STRENGTHS – mental health care for Syrian refugees

Syrian children outside their temporary home, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley

Dates: 2017-2021
Funder: European Commission
ECOHOST staff involved: Bayard Roberts
Description: ECOHOST is a partner in a new five-year European Commission funded research project called STRENGTHS led by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam which seeks to strengthen mental health care for Syrian refugees in Europe and in countries neighbouring Syria.

The current refugee crisis across Europe and the Middle East effects refugees’ psychological well-being, as they face extreme stressors in their flight from their home country and lives in new countries, but also has large effects on the healthcare systems of countries housing refugees. In response to this crisis, STRENGTHS aims to provide a framework for scaling-up the delivery and uptake of effective community-based mental health strategies to address the specific needs of refugees within and outside Europe’s borders. STRENGTHS will outline necessary steps to integrate evidence-based low-intensity psychological interventions (PM+) with refugees for common mental disorders into health systems in Syria’s surrounding countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan) and Europe (Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden).

The programme of work includes conducting randomised control trials of PM+, and associated implementation science and economic evaluation of scaling-up PM+. The consortium is a unique partnership between academics, NGOs, international agencies and local partners with the responsibility to provide and scale-up evidence-based mental health and psychosocial support interventions for refugees.  Bayard Roberts (ECOHOST) is leading a work package examining the responsiveness of health systems to the scaling-up of PM+ across the study countries. Research methods include rapid appraisals of health systems, cross-sectional population-level surveys, and in-depth qualitative research.

For further information contact: Bayard Roberts

[Photo credit: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development,
licensed under CC-Attribution 2.0]