The refugee crisis is possibly the biggest humanitarian issue the world is currently facing, and the worst part is, it involves millions of innocent children facing an uncertain future.
Approximately 3.5 million children are known to be displaced within Syria while countless others have been forced to flee and seek refuge in neighboring countries.
Children have been and will always be the future and hope of any nation, but what does the future hold for the innocent kids crossing European borders on the shoulders of their parents? While many of them are struggling to get their hands on basic needs such as food, water and shelter, others have seen their friends and family killed, which, needless to say, has left them traumatized and hopeless.
At an age where these young ones should be playing with toys and living carefree lives, refugee kids are seen sitting among rubble or engaging in dangerous labor.
Here are some images of children holding on to hope even in times of despair:
And as some of them are unaware of the problems that engulf them and others are pulling through tough times with smiles plastered on their faces, the psychological issues that will follow in the long run comes as no surprise.
A study reveals that nearly half the Syrian refugees who fled to Germany in attempts of holding on to dear life are now experiencing psychological distress and mental illnesses.
While approximately 40 percent of the children have witnessed violence, around 26 percent have watched their families being attacked.
"There are three major potentially traumatic backgrounds: being involved in a war in Syria, being a refugee and arriving in a new foreign country,” Dr. Peter Henningsen, a professor of psychosomatic medicine at the Technical University of Munich, told The Huffington Post.
Adults along with children, both males and females, are likely to suffer mental illnesses including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. They also have flashbacks and nightmares reliving the traumas they’re undergoing as refugees.
In research conducted at a refugee center in Munich, Germany, earlier in the year, Henningsen and his colleagues found that at least one in five Syrian children suffer from a psychological disorder resulting from the trauma. Although approximately 3,500 psychotherapy sessions are offered in German refugee camps every year, the overall demand is probably 20 times higher.
The psychological impact on children not only hinders their brain and personality development but also negatively affects their learning abilities, memory, stress, fear, social interactions and ability to control emotions.
"Secondary prevention is more realistic – that is, early recognition of psychological distress through systematic screening, psychoeducation, helping the helpers to cope, low level interventions, offer for specialist treatment where needed,” Hennigsen added.
It is indeed sad that while most of the attention is focused on treating physical injuries and providing basic necessities to the displaced people, mental health is automatically put on the back burner, leaving refugees scarred for life.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters