Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:38 AM EDT

Canadian Government Helps Syrian Refugees With PTSD

Dec 10, 2015 11:42 PM EST

Syrian Refugees
(Photo : Reuters) Residents queue up to receive humanitarian aid at the refugee camp of Yarmouk

Canada already accepted 2,370 refugees as of 2014 with plans of resettling 10,000 more within the coming years. The Canadian government also provided refugees with therapy for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The government also plans to help those refugees with PTSD through its Canadian Pilot Program. Dr. Morton Beiser, a psychiatrist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, said that at least 1 in 10 adult refugees who have resettled somewhere else is likely to develop PTSD, mainly due to the trauma that they have experienced while they are still in the battle area. But what worries Dr. Beiser even more is the higher percentage of children and youth acquiring the same sort of disorder. That's why he decided to start a program called "Lending a Hand to Our Future." This program will help all incoming refugees by providing them necessary treatments in order for them to get through the disorder that they've been. 

Another form of therapy that the government of Canada offers is the Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET). This particular form of treatment was developed in Germany about 25 years ago and has been consistently used in patients dealing with PTSD.

The NET treatment allows the refugee patients not to dabble their fears in specific events by turning it into a narrative story that will hopefully help them get it out of their system. Traumatic memories are often incomplete, making it possible for 'triggers' to take the victims' mind back to that specific horrible event that he/she has escaped from.

That's where the NET therapy helps by stitching all the tiny memories that the victims have through a narrative story that will help them reassess where those memories lie, and that is in the past. One of the components of NET therapy in a session is the giving of stones. Each victim will be given 10 stones where they would recount each major traumatic experience they had; this particular method helps the trauma to become diffused.

It takes a lot of effort and patience, but once that barrier is broken through, improvements will be visible. The Canadian government still hopes to help even more refugees by conducting PTSD screenings at specialized refugee health clinics.

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