There is a growing mental health crisis in Kurdistan and trauma is widespread, particularly among those who have escaped or been rescued from ISIS captivity. There is an urgent need to provide immediate protection services and address the critical needs of the most vulnerable, including women, children, and survivors of torture and sexual violence. Psychosocial support services are scarce and even where available, the stigma associated with mental health services, combined with a lack of freedom of movement of some women, has deterred many from seeking support.

SEED helps the displaced population, with a focus on the Yezidi population, which has been subject to murder, abduction, torture, rape, and sexual slavery, to recover from violence and trauma.  SEED’s mission is to help survivors get back on their feet, while giving them the practical skills they need to build a brighter future.  At the SEED Center, we offer comprehensive services to the whole family and community in a safe and supportive place to heal.  Integrating psychological support, with a broad range of recreation, training, and educational activities increases access to our Center, reduces stigma, and increases the impact of the psychological support.

SEED provides high-quality psychotherapy, counseling and social work services, with a focus on survivors of sexual violence, to help them recover from trauma and cope with daily challenges.

  • Social work services including comprehensive case management to ensure that survivors’ broad needs are met.
  • Individual, family, and group psychotherapy to promote healing and the reintegration of survivors into their families and communities.
  • SEED’s professional psychologists and social workers meet with their clients in private rooms in the Center, as well as in their tents.
  • Recreational activities help the healing process, providing a much-needed reprieve from the isolation many face, and create a “safe space” for survivors to go without stigma. Social activities such as baking, cooking, knitting, music, exercise, gardening, and art helps our participants make new friends and build new support networks.
  • Children participate in facilitated play that includes circle time, story telling, playful songs and games, arts and crafts, and other activities that engage them in healthy, safe and fun activities that further their development, while their parents receive care in our Center.

While SEED’s primary focus is to support women and girls, the organization also helps vulnerable men and boys, and provides holistic whole-family rehabilitation services.  We found that many men, despite being victims of violence and torture, have been neglected in this conflict.  To end the cycle of violence within our community, we decided to offer the full range of our services to men and boys.  To our surprise, the demand for psychological support is high, and SEED employs a male psychologist to work exclusively with our male clients.

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