Assessment of Perceptions of Climate Change and Its Causes and Impacts on Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing among a Group of Internally Displaced Persons in Iraq

Extreme weather conditions across Iraq influence people’s psychosocial wellbeing, particularly the wellbeing of internally displaced persons (IDPs). This research examines the perceptions of climate change, as well as its causes and impacts on the everyday lives of IDPs in Iraq, and what needs to be done to mitigate these impacts. Following a literature review, this study presents a survey developed and carried out by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) with IDPs in Ninewa and Duhok camp settings to assess interest in climate change, the impacts of climate change on the IDP population, the observed importance of addressing climate change and what actions can be taken to mitigate such impacts. Key research findings illustrate that most IDPs (80%) have observed climate change in their lives and have been affected directly by climate change (74%). Apart from detailing these findings, the study presents the solutions


Key implications for practice


• Climate change and extreme weather conditions are associated with several social, economic, and health related issues that negatively influence IDPs’ mental health and psychosocial wellbeing which decreases their ability and resilience to respond to psychosocial challenges related to displacement.

• Not all surveyed IDPs in Iraq believe that addressing climate change as a priority is as important as addressing their basic needs during protracted conflict and displacement. suggested by the IDPs to address climate change impacts. Based on these suggestions, this study then introduces policy-relevant recommendations to enhance the psychosocial wellbeing of the IDPs across Iraq and support government authorities, national policymakers and humanitarian actors in responding to the needs of the affected population associated with the consequences of climate change.

• The extent to which camps are influenced by both extreme hot and extreme cold weather conditions plays a key role in IDPs’ psychosocial wellbeing with the former leading to more negative consequences.

Hatem Alaa Marzouk, Yasin Duman, Julie Meier, Qanea Lashkri Khudhur & Omar Alani | 2022
In: Interventions : Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas : ISSN: 1571-8883 | 20 | 1 | May | 98-106
Climate change, Displacement, Humanitarian Staff Care, Iraqis, Mental health, Middle East, Migration, Psychosocial support, Public health, Quality of Life, Research