Mohammed Firas Jundi, Minister of Health in the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) said that the Assad regime bears primary responsibility for the growing mental health crisis in Syria as a result of its extensive, relentless bombardment of residential areas and vital civilian facilities.
In an interview with the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, Jundi said that more than 95 percent of the mental disorders affecting Syrian civilians were “the result of the Assad regime’s shelling by rockets and bombs as well as its terrorizing of Syrian civilians.”
Prior to the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, Syria suffered severe shortages of psychiatrists and psychotherapists, which also affects the current period, Jundi added.
Jundi pointed out that displacement, bombing, mutation, and permanent physical disability had led to rampant mental disorders among children and adults alike, adding that Syrians are suffering from an epidemic of mental illness.
The Ministry previously sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the systematic bombing of hospitals and medical facilities by the Assad regime and Russia. The bombings killed many members of the medical staff and destroyed the equipment and buildings, putting many of these facilities out of service.
The Assad regime and its Russian ally bombed at least 70 medical facilities from 2011 to 2015, killing no fewer than 497 doctors, nurses, and paramedics, the Ministry said. It noted that such attacks increased dramatically in 2016, destroying 286 medical centers and killing 151 medical workers.
Several international organizations have already reported rampant mental disorders among civilians in Syria. It has been reported that out of 300,000 people who need urgent mental health support and treatment, only 750 are being treated. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)