Training Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in the Problem Management Plus Programme in Turkey

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the impact on the local population has rapidly increased, with severe consequent displacement to neighbouring countries (such as Turkey), material losses and psychological damage due to witnessing death, torture, physical and psychological abuse or surviving it, including high levels of gender-based violence.


At the same time, available resources to aid impacted communities have not come close to matching need. To respond to this urgent need, the INSAN Psychosocial Support Centre in Istanbul, Turkey initiated the Safety Spark project as a capacity building project with 20 refugee gender-based violence survivors to be trained in Problem Management Plus. This is “a psychological intervention that aims to improve mental health, functioning and psychosocial wellbeing of adults” and thereafter to provide mental health and psychosocial support to other women survivors, thereby increasing the capacity of the community to heal itself.


However, right after training, but 2 weeks before implementation sessions began, the onslaught of the coronavirus disease 2019 reached Turkey, making provision of traditional psychological support impossible. With the support of World Health Organization, an online training was added to the programme and survivors were taught to provide support remotely as well. The project is ongoing, and observed results appear to be promising. This field report provides an overview of the target population, procedures, settings and challenges faced during the training and implementation, solutions to overcome them and future recommendations.

Sena Akbay-Safi, Areej Al Tabba, Laila Ragab Mahdy Mahmoud | 2021
In: Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas | 19 | 2 | 180-186 | Diemen : ARQ International
Case Management, Interventions, Mental health, Migrants, Syrians, Training programs, Transgendered Persons, Traumatic events, Violence