Mental health and conflict: A pilot of an online eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing intervention for forcibly displaced Syrian women

Description

Background
The Syrian conflict has been ongoing since 2011. Practical and scalable solutions are urgently needed to meet an increase in need for specialised psychological support for post-traumatic stress disorder given limited availability of clinicians. Training forcibly displaced Syrians with a mental health background to remotely deliver specialised interventions increases the availability of evidence based psychological support. Little is known about the effectiveness of online therapy for forcibly displaced Syrian women provided by forcibly displaced Syrian women therapists.

Purpose
To pilot an evidence-based trauma therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), carried out online by trained forcibly displaced Syrian women therapists for forcibly displaced Syrian women who require treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Methods
83 forcibly displaced Syrian women, living in Türkiye or inside Syria, with diagnosable PTSD, were offered up to 12 sessions of online EMDR over a period of three months. This was delivered by forcibly displaced Syrian women therapists who were trained in EMDR. Data were gathered, using Arabic versions, on PTSD symptoms using the Impact of Events Scale Revised, depression symptoms using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and anxiety symptoms using the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment-7 at baseline, mid-point, and end of therapy.

Results
PTSD scores, depression scores and anxiety scores all significantly reduced over the course of treatment, with lower scores at midpoint than baseline and lower scores at end of treatment than at midpoint. Only one participant (1%) exceeded the cutoff point for PTSD, and 13 (16%) exceeded the cutoff points for anxiety and depression at the end of treatment.In this pilot study up to 12 sessions of online EMDR were associated with reductions in PTSD, anxiety and depression symptoms in Syrian women affected by the Syrian conflict. The training of forcibly displaced Syrian mental health professionals to deliver online therapy is a relatively low cost, scalable, sustainable solution to ensure that those who are affected by the conflict can access specialised support. Further research is needed using a control group to confirm that the observed effects are due to EMDR treatment, as is research with post-treatment follow-up to ascertain that benefits are maintained.

Format

Journal

Language

English

Author(s)

Aseel Hamid
Amanda Williams
Muslihah Albakri
Katrina Scior
SIan Morgan
Hamodi Kayal
Matthew Wilcockson
Rouba Droish Alkaja
Sahbaa Alsayed
Robin Logie
Shiraz Farrand
Walid K. Abdul-Hamid

Original Work Citation

Hamid, A., Williams, A., Albakri, M.,  Scior, K., Morgan, S., Kayal, H., Wilcockson, M., ... & Abdul-Hamid, W. (2024). Mental health and conflict: A pilot of an online eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing intervention for forcibly displaced Syrian women. Frontiers in Public Health, 12. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2024.1295033

Collection

Citation

“Mental health and conflict: A pilot of an online eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing intervention for forcibly displaced Syrian women,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed July 15, 2024, https://francineshapirolibrary.omeka.net/items/show/29188.

Output Formats