216145 Beyond Baghdad: The emotional turmoil of “Iraqis” in Lebanon

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jihad Makhoul, Dr , Department of Health Promotion and Community Health, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Lina Torossian, Ms , Department of Health Behaviour and Education, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Dima Dandachi, Dr , Department of Family Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Yara Qettina, Ms , Department of Health Behaviour and Education, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
This paper presents findings from a research study with Iraqi refugee families and children in Lebanon, to explore refugee living conditions in transit migration. The study funded by IDRC was conducted by a team of Arabic speaking researchers, members of the Arab Families Working Group. Findings identify several psychological outcomes from in-depth interviews with adults and children. Adults spoke of feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness, anxiety, suicidal ideation and attempts, while children suffer from psychological fatigue and sleeping problems, decreased appetite and continuous crying. The underlying reasons behind the adult psychological outcomes include the long series of traumatic experiences in the three phases of forced migration beginning with the armed conflicts in Iraq (the uprooting, the threats, the devastation of property and separation of family members); the traumatic experiences of moving out and seeking refuge (the cost of fleeing and undergoing trafficking, risks to their lives) and the hardships of living conditions in Lebanon (state persecution, discrimination, social antagonism, financial need and the ambiguity regarding their repatriation papers). Children's narratives focus on their experiences of being uprooted from their normal lives, the loss of friends, changes and violence at school, as well as financial need. Participants' suffering is felt differently depending on their their social support nets, which vary with their age, urban area they reside in and the quality of the services they receive from the welfare agencies. Implications for the state and welfare agencies and implications for further research will be presented.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. List the stressors that have contributed to distress among the Iraqi refugees. 2. Discuss the social inequities the Iraqis are experiencing and the root cause of each. 3. Suggest implications for policy and practice that may improve the Iraqi refugees’ conditions in the host country.

Keywords: Refugees, Iraq

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was lead investigator in the research project. I also collected and analyzed the data and wrote the abstract on behalf of the research team.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.