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The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement


A short documentary on the mental health

state of Syrian women refugees in Turkey

and the challenges they are facing to access

mental health care




Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in March 2011, over 11 million Syrians fled their homes. The majority have sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Turkey, where over 3.5 million forcibly displaced Syrians are temporarily protected, about half of them are women.

During the war and their journey to reach their country of refuge, women are at higher risk of being harmed and victimized and end up in vulnerable situations, which may lead to mental health disorders. These mental health problems may range from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to anxiety, depression, etc. due to the circumstances that they faced during their migration, which might affect the quality of their life. Currently, the responsibility of mental health support for the refugee is shared by a network of organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Governments and NonGovernmental Organizations. In Gaziantep, a small city in south-eastern Turkey, the population has grown by 30% due to the newcomers feeling the war in Syria. The Turkish government along with several UN agencies, international organizations and local NGOs have successfully responded to the needs of the Syrian refugees in Gaziantep as recognized by the international community. However, mental health state of women refugees in Gaziantep is still relatively unknown. We have conducted this project to strengthen our understanding of the mental health state of Syrian women refugees in Southeastern Turkey and the barriers preventing them from accessing mental health care, and to issue recommendations to policy makers to improve access to mental health care. Two types of interviews were conducted: interviews with Syrian women refugees in Turkey (10 participants) and interviews with stakeholders involved in the refugee crisis response in Turkey (5 participants). Participants have been selected on a voluntary base and wished to remain anonymous for security reasons. Interviews were recorded in Gaziantep and Hatay province in Southeastern Turkey, in May 2022.