Leila*, 23, a Yezidi woman originally from Shingal (Sinjar), currently lives with her family in Chamishko IDP Camp in Duhok governorate after they had to flee their home. When Leila was 12 years, her cousin, who was her best friend and like a sister to her, suddenly passed away. Leila was deeply shocked and upset by the news and it impacted her considerably. As a result of losing her cousin, Leila started developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Leila and her family were unaware that she was suffering from PTSD and she was undiagnosed for years. Over time, her symptoms grew stronger and she also started showing signs of depression, anxiety, and painful memories of past traumatic events reappeared, often in nightmares. Experiencing flashbacks is very painful. It feels like the event is happening again and one is constantly reminded of the difficult memories. Leila started to develop further emotional distress and physical reactions to events and thoughts that reminded her of her past. She began to have negative thoughts about herself and others, felt despair about the future, disconnected from family and friends, lacked enjoyment during daily activities, emotional numbness, and problems sleeping and concentrating.
In June 2019, Leila’s brother referred her to SEED after hearing about SEED’s MHPSS services through a camp community mobilizer. After meeting Leila and getting her consent, SEED opened a case and began working with her to provide her with needed mental health services. A SEED case manager and psychologist collaborated with Leila to develop a custom care and treatment plan based on her particular situation and symptoms. SEED’s psychologist worked closely with her, giving her individual therapy and anger management sessions, as well as teaching her coping mechanisms, problem-solving skills, grounding techniques, and mindfulness. Moreover, Leila and her family participated in psychoeducation in order to understand what Leila struggles from, what symptoms she experiences, what it means, and techniques on how to prevent and mitigate symptoms.
After receiving MHPSS services in line with her care plan from SEED, Leila’s symptoms started to decrease. She was able to sleep better, experience joy and excitement, and be more social and connect with her friends and family. Leila has more energy, is able to follow a routine and even started a job in the camp. In February 2020, after consultation with the case manager, psychologist, and Leila herself, SEED was able to close her case; she had successfully completed her care and treatment plans and her symptoms were gone. Leila said she feels good, is excited about the future, and very satisfied with the services she received from SEED. “I will recommend anyone who deals with similar issues to reach out to SEED’s staff if they need support.”
*Name and minor details have been changed to protect client confidentiality