Credit: UNODC

Researchers at The University of Manchester have released some brief and simple advice for parents and caregivers of children and young people affected by the earthquakes in Syria, Turkey and neighboring countries.

The two-page leaflet from the University’s Parenting and Families Research Group, has been made available, with support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Prevention Treatment and Rehabilitation Section (UNODC)

It is available in Turkish, Arabic and English and also as an audio recording in the languages for download on a dedicated UNODC website developed for the earthquake response.

The website also contains a number of other caregiver resources specifically for emergencies like the earthquake and is available here.

The leaflets, booklets and audio resources provide basic, evidence-based guidance on best ways to help both caregivers and children to live through crisis, and have been updates to ensure its relevance for the current emergency.

It is designed to help parents and caregivers cope with their own emotions and stress and will help them to understand common reactions in children and how best to care for them.

The Global Initiative to Support Parents (GISP) –an interagency collaboration formed to ensure every parent and caregiver around the world has access to parenting support–has shared the resources across their networks and newsletters.

GISP was formed by UNICEF, WHO, Parenting for Lifelong Health at the University of Oxford, the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN), and the Global Partnership to End Violence.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime are also working through the Regional Office for Middle East and North Africa–covering Syria, Lebanon and Jordan–and South East Europe Office (Turkey) to disseminate them through the respective UN Emergency Relief Country Teams.

The resources were originally created in collaboration with Syrian families and Turkish and Syrian humanitarian workers as a response to the stresses of flight and displacement. Caregivers rate them highly.

The earthquakes have hit an area which is already home to many displaced Syrian families.

Dr. El-Khani and Prof Calam have been working with UNODC for several years to develop a full set of resources for families living through the stresses of flight and displacement.

Prof Rachel Calam said, “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by these terrible earthquakes. However hard it is to keep going in such difficult times, understanding common reactions, and supporting and encouraging children and young people emotionally and practically can help them to cope.”

Dr. Aala El-Khani said, “We know that one of the most important predictors for the mental health of children who experience a crisis is the way they are cared for by their families. We hope these resources will be shared with those families so terribly affected by the earthquake in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, who need help and support.”

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University of Manchester