The situation in the Middle East is becoming ever more distressing, with the number of those that are injured, displaced, and those who have lost their lives, increasing day by day. Our thoughts and sympathies remain with everyone suffering.
Like most people, we want to see a swift and peaceful resolution to end the violence. There will already be significant impacts, including short and long-term effects on their mental health, being felt by civilians and healthcare workers, as well as individuals forcibly separated from their homes, family and friends.
It is vital that support is provided to those on the ground, but also to those in the UK and beyond, who are extremely worried about their family and friends, as well as fearful of what the conflict could mean for their own safety.
We offer our unequivocal support to all our members who have been impacted by the conflict in the Middle East and have learned from our experience of supporting disasters, that the College can have the greatest impact when we work with partners from the affected areas to meet their needs.
The College is working behind the scenes, within our remit, to help where it is needed, as we believe this can help us to have a real impact. Since the conflict began in October:
- We have offered direct support, and answered questions from our members impacted by the conflict in the UK and affected regions and reminded them of the help and resources we can provide.
- We are providing practical assistance to our partners in emergency zones by delivering enhanced psychological first-aid training to colleagues as well as relief workers, as requested. This incorporates essential mental health and physical care and supports those who have been victims of sexual violence.
- After writing to both Foreign Secretaries, we have been in correspondence with government ministers in Westminster about the significant impact armed conflict has on the mental health of individuals and offered our expertise and support. We also called on them to do their best to bring the situation to an early resolution, including the end of violence and the reunion of individuals with their loved ones.
- We spoke with senior government officials, and advisors, raising concerns about the mental health implications in both the short and longer term of the conflict for all those affected.
- We have developed a hub of information for international disasters, which is hosted on our website. This includes translations of patient resources, guidance, free eLearning modules on the mental health response for humanitarian emergencies and signposts to a number of additional relevant resources.
We are mindful of the toll this conflict is taking on all of us who can only look on in horror at the events feeling powerless. I would like to remind all of you of our Psychiatrists' Support Service (PSS) which provides free, rapid, high-quality peer support by telephone to psychiatrists of all grades. Please do share these details with any of our membership who may benefit.
We wish for a future where those in the Middle East can live in peace and all those affected can be supported to get the help they need.