Nagham*, a 21 year old Yezidi girl, currently lives in an IDP camp after ISIS invaded her home town of Shingal (Sinjar), where she grew up with her family. After the ISIS invasion, life became extremely unsafe and Nagham and her family were forced to flee to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Although they felt safer in the camp, life continued to be difficult for Nagham and her family, and the adjustment to camp life was hard. As a result of her traumatic experiences, particularly witnessing her brother’s murder by members of ISIS, Nagham began experiencing mental health issues, including symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, during this time she did not have a good relationship with her other brother and his wife, which caused her a lot of emotional stress. Unable to cope, Nagham tried to take her own life several times.
In June 2019, SEED community mobilizers approached Nagham during a community outreach session and told her about SEED’s services. Nagham told them she felt overwhelmed, unable to cope, and was experiencing distressing symptoms. The community mobilizers, who are trained to identify needs, urgently referred Nagham to a SEED case manager. When she met with the case manager, who assessed her needs, they created a care plan together in line with her mental health needs.
With her consent, Nagham was referred to a SEED psychologist. To the psychologist, Nagham reported experiencing a lack of appetite and sleep, excessive crying, nightmares, and flashbacks to traumatic events she experienced, in addition to suicidal ideation. She shared that she felt hopeless about the future and did not want to be around others, including friends and family, and would avoid social gatherings. SEED’s psychologist provided Nagham with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), taught her coping skills, mindfulness exercises, stress management, and anger management techniques to use when she felt upset and angry.
Later her family began awareness sessions, which included psychoeducation to help them understand her needs better. In addition to therapy, Nagham continued to receive case management, including receiving financial assistance through SEED’s Survivor Fund to pay for her transport to the hospital for psychiatric appointments and other medical care.
As a result of SEED’s mental health and case management services, Nagham has experienced a reduction in symptoms and is able to better cope with her remaining symptoms. In a session with the psychologist, Nagham highlighted “I feel alive again for the first time in a long time. I understand my problems now.” Nagham’s well-being has improved significantly as has her ability to recognize and cope with her triggers, and she continues to receive mental health and case management support from SEED.
*Name and minor details have been changed to protect client confidentiality.