Promoting Mental Health for Children and Their Caregivers Affected by the Syrian Conflict

  • Aala El-Khani
  • Rachel Calam
Part of the Integrating Psychiatry and Primary Care book series (IPPC)


The humanitarian crisis afflicting Syria is one of the gravest catastrophes worldwide, leading to the largest refugee displacement of our time and resulting in mass displacement of Syria’s population, both internally and as global refugees. Children are innocent victims of this conflict and are at particular risk of harm to their mental health and physical development. Two of the most important and modifiable factors related to psychological difficulties in children affected by armed conflict are parental support and monitoring. Improvements in these areas present great potential for preventive intervention. Although its importance is not often acknowledged, the care children receive from parents and primary caregivers during and after conflict can act as a significant protective barrier. Exploration of the impact of war and conflict on families often fails to recognize the significant link between this care and their emotional development and recovery from war trauma. Still, the challenges and stresses of war and displacement often affect parents’ capacity to provide children with the care they need. In this chapter, we explore the parenting challenges of Syrian families affected by conflict. We examine opportunities to design and deliver support for parents in this context, grounded in theory-based parenting principles and empirically identified needs. This design is constructed in order to inform interventions and policies that are family and system-focused, as well as culturally and contextually appropriate.


Syria Conflict War Child Parenting Caregiver Intervention Program Refugee Displacement 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aala El-Khani
    • 1
  • Rachel Calam
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Psychology and Mental Health, Faculty of Biology, Medicine, and HealthThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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