Via MSF.org: Iraq: MSF assists traumatised people from Mosul. Excerpt:
The recent launch of the military offensive to retake Mosul has forced people who have lived through extremely traumatic times to flee the town and nearby villages.
"These people have endured two years of occupation of their town or villages by the so-called Islamic State (IS), airstrikes, Iraqi forces fighting IS, and have fled for their lives", says Bilal Budair, MSF's mental health manager in Erbil. "They had to leave very quickly, taking nothing with them, and now they find themselves in a displaced persons camp."
Some 30,000 people are living in camps in Hassansham and Khazer, 35 kilometres east of Mosul. MSF's mental health teams see around 45 patients a day. With the rise in the number of people displaced in Ninewa governorate in 2016 and the launch in mid-October of the battle to retake Mosul, our teams have been seeing patients suffering from severe mental health disorders.The teams, which include a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a community worker, previously worked with Syrian refugees in northern Iraq in 2013. Then, in 2014 they began assisting displaced Iraqis who had fled Mosul when IS took control of the region.
People are deeply traumatised
Many people tell us they witnessed public executions in the market and saw corpses strung up and left for days. Death by stoning, beheadings, torture and corporal punishment; the level of violence has left many deeply traumatised.
MSF psychiatrists are shocked by what they hear. Like the father who recalls how he was forced to kill his own child because he swore. They find these accounts hard to believe, but the facts are inescapable when different people recount the same story.
Another root of suffering for those displaced in recent months, is the fighting they have witnessed in their home villages or neighbourhoods. They have watched friends or relatives die.
These displaced people have fled Mosul or nearby villages for the safety of the camps. Patients who would never before have considered consulting a psychiatrist are now seeking help, but they're still terrified and live in fear of being exposed yet again to IS violence.