Dr Essam Daod helps refugees prioritise mental health after witnessing life on Lesvos island

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In late 2015, Dr Essam Daod found himself standing on a beach on the Greek island of Lesvos as numerous small boats, filled with hundreds of Syrian refugees, approached the shore.

In an interview with ABC RN’s Sunday Extra, Dr Daod details how over the course of a year, he witnessed “unspeakable suffering” on Lesvos as almost one million displaced Syrians arrived on the island in an attempt to flee the civil war and ISIS.

This, he explained, inspired him and his wife to set up Humanity Crew, an organisation devoted to making mental health a priority in humanitarian crisis responses.

“If we want to help someone going through trauma, we need also to take care of his mind. And not only his basic needs [of] food and shelter,” the psychiatrist told the ABC program about why he launched Humanity Crew.

Nowadays, Humanity Crew volunteers continue to operate in Greece, training thousands of people and mental health professionals in psychosocial work.

There’s also an online clinic, run by mental health professionals, which aims to help refugees with their mental health wherever they are.

Source: ABC RN’s Sunday Extra.

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