In March, I identified two types of representative centres that would probably require different approaches, and which are typical of other parts of the world. Following some postgraduate training with Kocaeli University outside Istanbul (picture with the trainee cild psychiatrists), the first residential unit at Kocaeli was statutory and had regular cover from both the local child and adult mental health services (young people’s artwork; and staff with Professor Bulent from the adult mental health service). This is the ideal and comprehensive model, but one has to recognise that it will be the excption rather than the norm, particularly where specialist resources are sparse. Nevertheless, these links, even if tenuous to start with, are essential for the future.
Then I looked for an NGO that is more represenative of existing models. I was fortunate to be hosted by the Hayat Foundation in Istanbul, and their wonderfull staff and volunteers. They usually have a caseload of 50 disadvantaged families on their caseload, without any other direct service links. What was most impressive was that only 3 staff were employed, while the remaining 50 were true volunteers. These include students from the local University and a brilliant training venue (in blue) donated for that purpose. We have since discussed and prioritised child trauma training for the volunteers on 11-12 October – any suggestions most welcome!
This maybe a model to expland to other NGOs and services, in conjunction with a new PhD project by Fatih Sobaci. The Hayat Foundation also provides a second centre in Adana, one of the key cities in the southeast for the influx of Syrian refugees. It makes sense that we go there next. Again, two new and highly motivated PhD students working in this field (Seyda Eruyar and Turkan Ozkent) could form the research and training link for the future. Turkan comes from Gaziantep, also in the southeast, another reception cty for Syrian refugees.