Migration

IDPs from Mosul are increasingly suffering from psychological disorders

Iraq

Due to the horrors that they witnessed during ISIS' rule over Mosul, many residents developed psychological disorders despite them escaping the city. Doctors are attempting to treat many patients, however, the sheer number of patients makes it hard to give them full treatment.

Mosul was the centre of ISIS activity for over 3 years as it represented the terrorist group’s de facto capital across Iraq and Syria. The local residents of the city hold vivid and painful memories of the period of ISIS rule. Many of them have carried these memories to the IDP camps (camps for internally displaced people) where they have settled.

Manifa, an IDP from Mosul stranded in a camp, has been suffering from depression and secludes herself away from other members of the camp in silence. A psychological barrier prevents her from opening up to others, but she manages to express her feeling of a consuming fear that has followed her like a shadow from Mosul. Her relatives attest to the detrimental effect that ISIS rule in Mosul has had on Manifa.

Um Barzan, a woman staying at the same camp, is carrying a different sort of psychological burden. She is living with her severely disabled 20-year-old son, who is suffering from epilepsy and paralysis. The dire economic conditions are taking their toll on Um Barzan who can barely afford to purchase diapers for her son by selling the food she receives as aid.

Some in the IDP camps have not been able to tolerate the psychological burdens loaded onto them as a result of ISIS’ heinous crimes and their experiences of displacement. There have even been cases of people who have resorted to self-immolation in the camps in order to escape the psychological trauma caused by witnessing the atrocious crimes committed by ISIS.

There is also widespread apprehension with regards to the detrimental effects on the psychology of children who have been particularly susceptible to the ill-effects of witnessing violent crimes. Those children who have been exposed to scenes of beatings, military conflict and executions are more likely to accept the normalisation of violence, which may sow the seeds of aggressive personality traits in the future.

Image: Al Jazeera