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Online help for people with depression or posttraumatic stress

Breaking the stigma of mental illness

Many people in Egypt suffer from severe psychological problems. They deal with different levels of tension and pressure on a daily basis, no matter their social status. Causes may include the financial and economic situation and the unstable political situation, which reflect directly on the community. This affects Egyptians, migrants and refugees, and puts them in need of psychological support and treatment.

Goal

Our aim is to break the stigma of mental illness – all too common in the Arab World – and to raise awareness of the value of psychological support. Our goal is to offer those suffering from depression or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) web-based support from a professional therapist. We want to help them to come to terms with their experiences and develop new perspectives.

Internet-based writing therapy

In 2011, Caritas started the collaboration with the Berlin Centre for Torture Victims (BZfO) in the supervision and monitoring of an online therapy program. Ilajnafsy is an internet-based writing therapy, designed according to a scientifically tested model, with a defined fixed sequence of interventions.

In 2017, Caritas Alexandria and our German partners (see below), started to implement a project to offer psychological support in Alexandria. In addition to professional psychiatrists and therapists, Caritas offers a strong database and partnerships with well-known local NGOs and other organisations.

Activities

  1. Train social workers from different Caritas departments who are already working on the most frequent psychological problems and traumas
  2. Conduct 2-hour seminars by a psychiatrist and a therapist all over Alexandria. Topics: the importance of being mentally and psychologically balanced; how the break the stigma of being a psychological patient; definition of “depression”, its symptoms and causes; definition of “PTSD”, its symptoms and causes; presentation of the Ilajnafsy programme, its advantages, success stories and application procedure.
  3. Provide daily access to laptops to facilitate the application process to Ilajnafsy programme for Syrians in need.

Facts & figures

Beneficiaries: At least 1600 beneficiaries per year (18+ years old, all nationalities: Egyptian, migrants and refugees)

Where: All over Alexandria and outreach missions to Damietta and the North coast governments

Period: March 2017 – September 2019

Sponsors & Partners: Berlin Centre for Torture Victims (BZfO), Misereor

Partners: Cultural centers, NGOs, government institutes, other Caritas departments

Results

  • Increasing awareness of the importance of psychological treatment and the fight against false beliefs and social stigmas for those suffering from psychological problems
  • Identifying the definition and symptoms of the depression and PTSD
  • Helping people suffering from psychological problems especially depression and post-traumatic stress disorder – to find effective treatment solutions
  • Promoting Ilajnafsy programme and helping people with their registration

More info

Sally Sobhy
Project coordinator
E: sallysobhy@caritasalex.org
M: 20122 570 7364

Nermine Georges
Data Management
E: nermine.georges@caritasalex.org
M: 20122 251 8991