Movements such as the Arab Spring (as described by popular media) and recent regional conflicts have forced people to leave their homes and flee to other countries or regions. Syrian refugees are currently the second largest refugee group worldwide, with half of them resettled in Turkey. Turkish government and non-governmental civil organizations have mobilized efforts to address the immediate survival needs of these refugees such as food, shelter and other provisions. Despite efforts to manage the complexity of mental health and social service needs of forcibly displaced people, counseling services are still lacking. This expository article addresses the mental health needs of Syrian refugees and provides implications for counseling professionals working with displaced people from a crisis intervention approach built on principles and perspectives of humanistic mental health. In addition, programs of support, such as the Mental Health Facilitator program, are discussed.
Mental health practitioners working within school or community settings may at any time find themselves working with youth presenting with suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Although always well intended, practitioners are making significant clinical decisions that have high potential for influencing a range of outcomes, including very negative (e.g., completed suicide) to very positive (e.g., on path to recovery). This study used an exploratory descriptive survey design to determine practitioner levels of preparedness, levels of confidence and methods used to assess suicide risk in youth. Practitioner respondents (N = 339) to a 23-item survey included professional counselors, school counselors, social workers, school psychologists and psychologists. Key findings indicate insufficient and inconsistent levels of preparedness and confidence, with respondents predominantly using an informal, non-structured interview method to obtain suicide risk level. Implications suggest a need for increased graduate training, supervision and ongoing skill development in suicide prevention and assessment.