"We are witnessing a mental-health catastrophe that will affect most of us, and it will change our world... We need to acknowledge that first aid is not just needed for the body, but it has also to include the mind, the soul. The impact on the soul is hardly visible, but the damage can be there for life."- Dr Essam Daod, child psychiatrist and TED Fellow
This story about Tarek (not his real name) is hard to hear, but it’s neither unique nor without hope.
Tarek’s four young children woke him and his wife, playfully demanding their breakfast. He sat down with his family for their morning meal in the quiet town of Ma'arah al-Nu'man, with no idea how quickly his world would be shattered.
As a huge blast of noise and intense heat engulfed him, Tarek and three of his children could do nothing as his wife - their mother - burned to death alongside their brother.
Tarek managed to pull his other 3 children to safety but their family home was turned to rubble and with no belongings, they fled to Afrin finding shelter in an abandoned building. Tarek’s family need help. They sustained burn injuries and wounds which fortunately can be healed. But he has no means to provide food for the family, no milk for his 6 month old, and the psychological wounds from that last family breakfast will not heal as easily as their wounds.
It is you who can bring the hope to Tarek’s story. With your support, Insan will reach out to Tarek and others suffering like them. We will provide him and his family with the food and basic supplies they desperately need right now. We cannot change their past, we can help them all to prosper in the future. We’ll provide counselling for Tarek and his children so they have tools to deal with the trauma they’ve been through, teaching them coping mechanisms, and connecting them with other families who have been through similar trauma and want to offer support.
We can help Tarek find a community, and to know where to reach out to when he or his children are struggling. We can provide him with the urgent psychological aid and psycho-social support he needs so he can stand on his own feet and take care of the children now solely dependent on him.
Give people like Tarek the tools to cope with the ramifications of war trauma
Mental health is often overlooked in crisis situations but it is the basis of survival and resilience.
What we will do
Over three months, Insan’s expert team will provide psychological first aid to 300 families identified as in need of support, helping them to learn how to cope with the horrors they have experienced. We’ll provide food and aid baskets containing essential provisions like food and hygiene kits so they can focus on recovery, and we’ll ensure they know how and when to contact us if they need further assistance.
We will help train volunteers from families who have been through trauma in how to support those in their community by delivering psychological first aid, so that the community can come together and continue to heal itself and those most vulnerable within it.
We will additionally support people by rolling out the INSAN Lifeline self-help mobile application that offers mental health support and companionship. The app will help to support internally displaced people with their mental health by providing guidance and information, and we will use this roll out to review and further improve the application.
In total, if you can help us fund this project over the course of three months we will be able to provide long term support for 3,400 people, resourcing those suffering from trauma and the community around them with the tools to cope with the scarring experiences they have survived.
We'll teach psychological first aid to other families in the area so that the community can help support its most vulnerable members
What you need to know
Our funding target:
With over 270,000 newly displaced people to support, we are working to provide aid to as many people as we possibly can with your generous support. The situation on the ground is changing day to day and as such, if campaigns do not reach their targets - or should we raise more money than is needed for this emergency appeal - we will use ours and our partners’ expertise to discern how to reallocate funds where they are needed most. In either case, contributors will be informed where this money is being spent and why.
Distribution of funds:
Due to the urgency, CanDo has agreed to release funds directly to partners for the specific emergency on a weekly basis based on assessment of needs.
How else can I help:
There are many ways you can use your voice to make a difference:
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Share our message and our campaign to #Rise4Idlib tagging journalists, media outlets and socially-conscious celebrities to help raise awareness of the atrocities happening and the need for the international community to respond