Turkey: MSF responds to mental health needs after quakes

In the aftermath of the earthquakes that have hit eastern Turkey, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)  is extending its activities in the region through the provision of mental healthcare. Collaborating with the Turkish Ministry of Health and the Van Crisis Coordination Centre, MSF teams will address urgent needs for mental health support in Van.

“Many people are still in shock after the terrible experience of the quakes," explains Patrick Wieland, MSF head of mission. “Many of them have lost family members and friends, and some have no one left. Their houses have collapsed, they have lost all their belongings and they have to deal with a harsh new reality and extremely cold weather conditions, which will take months to improve. Every day, we see that there is a clear need to address the psychological consequences of this earthquake, which has taken a significant toll on the local population.”

A team of mental health workers will be working in the villages around Van, carrying out group and individual counselling sessions for both adults and children. MSF will also offer psychological care to refugees and asylum seekers that have been affected by the earthquake and are living in camps and settlements in the area.

An MSF emergency team arrived at the earthquake-affected areas of Van and Ercis on 25th October. Since then, in collaboration with two Turkish organisations, Hayata Destek, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (hCa) and other local partners and authorities, MSF has provided thousands of people in villages in the Van region with tents suitable for winter conditions and cooking kits.