Syrian Association for Mental Health (SAMH)
The escalating war in Syria has brought with it the significant deterioration of all aspects of life for its citizens, particularly in the area of psychosocial factors. It had also been noticed that there was an acute shortage of organized mental health professionals; these two factors were the catalyst for the formation of the Syrian Association for Mental Health (SAMH).
SAMH is an independent Syrian association for psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers.
SAMH seeks to promote comprehensive psychological health and wellbeing, and to become an established leading scientific association, offering supervised services, consultations, studies and research in the field of psychiatry, psychology and clinical social work.
To enhance mental health and provide psychological and social services according to the best, evidence based practice.
Establishment and Location:
SAMH was established following the recommendations of the first Syrian conference on "The psycho-social effects of the Syrian uprising and the ways to deal with them", which was held in Istanbul on the 27th and 28th of Sept. 2012.
SAMH was formed by a group of Syrian psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers, and it was officially registered in the UK (its current location) on the 10th September 2013.
Currently and until the First General Assembly Meeting is held, SAMH is run temporarily by the Founding Board of psychiatrists, psychologist and clinical social workers. From this board an executive committee of nine members was formed which is chaired by the president of the Board, the vice president, secretary, accountant and five other members.
Scope of Duties:
SAMH aims to serve all Syrian people irrespective of gender, age, religion, and sect, whether inside or outside Syria, and all others living in Syria.
Aims of the Association:
SAMH aims to meet the following targets:
1-To enhance general mental health and wellbeing.
2-To become one of the established trusted references in meeting psychological and social needs, through prevention, treatment, training and research.
3-To encourage scientific studies that could develop mental health.
4- To relieve the current and future psycho-social suffering, and to offer psycho-social support to all those in need of it, and to improve the social stigma they face as a result of psycho-social suffering.
5- To participate in diagnostic and therapeutic services for all psychiatric patients; whether it is through medication or psychological, social and spiritual intervention.
6-To help concerned agencies in organizing mental health programs according to the best, evidence-based practice.
7-To spread the culture of maintaining psychological health in the community.
8-To communicate with relevant specialized agencies, both local and overseas to facilitate:
A. Exchanging programs and services.
B. Strengthening the professional links between psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers in order to work in harmony.
C. Establishing relationships with professionals in other fields working towards a common cause.
9-To offer psychological consultations to other Syrian organizations involved in Syrian affairs.
SAMH aims to fulfill the above targets through the following:
1- Holding conferences, specialized symposiums and workshops in order to train and develop mental health workers, and to keep up- to-date with the most recent developments in the field, as well as participating in local and international conferences.
2- Offering professional support and supervision for those running mental health programs to guarantee that they are in accordance with the most recognized evidence based programs.
3-Establishing contacts with all beneficiaries for specialized psycho-social consultations (hotlines, websites for electronic consultations etc.)
4- Establishing psycho-social support projects for all targeted groups, especially women, children, the elderly, the injured, psychiatric patients and people with special needs.
5-Facilitating the arrival of medical and psycho-social teams to all affected areas.
6-Spreading a culture of awareness about psychological trauma resulting from disasters and educating people how to cope with such stress.
7- Holding intensive media campaigns directed towards countries (governments and the public) hosting the Syrian people since the current crisis in order to encourage social welfare and improve their quality of life (health, education, work, residency etc.).
8-Holding media campaigns to increase the awareness of the positive aspects of the current crisis, and spreading optimism.
9-Coordinating with experienced international organizations in order to implement various projects, and exchange any psychosocial experiences.
10-Collecting and studying the legal and forensic issues related to the medical and psychosocial aspects of wars and disasters.
11-Supporting medical and psychosocial research and surveys related to the Syrian crisis.
12- Highlighting the importance of documentation of any physical, psychological or sexual violations affecting people (according to the recognized scientific, professional and legal criteria).
13- Organizing and holding training courses for the relevant people, and from all sects, in order to benefit from any psychosocial and spiritual aspects of coping with disasters and crisis.
14-Training specialized trainers on psychosocial support.
15- Working toward minimizing the social stigma of mental illness, and the people affected by psychosocial problems such as sexual assault, and to offer the needed medical and psychosocial care.
16-Encouraging communication and cooperation between all psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other professionals involved in Syrian affairs.