What the war in Syria has to teach about mental health

What the war in Syria has to teach about mental health

NOTE ON PROGRAMMING: We will be off tomorrow and Friday for Thanksgiving but will return to our normal schedule on Monday November 28th.

As assistant coordinator to counter violent extremism and terrorist detentions at the State Department, Ian Moss works to repatriate foreign terrorist fighters and their family members, which includes the provision of social and mental health resources.

The work he does is complex and involves not only finding homes and jobs for those formerly involved in terrorist organizations, but also providing the communities they are reintegrating into with the right tools to support them. Moss says lessons learned in dealing with the mental health issues of foreign fighters could inform efforts to counter violent extremism and mass violence in this country.

Similar to what the State Department has done overseas, the Department of Homeland Security is beginning to invest in domestic mental health programs.

Moss told Ruth about her job. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do?

One of the issues on which I devote much of my time relates to the repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters and their associated family members out of northeast Syria – to ensure that individuals have opportunities appropriate educational, psychosocial support.

What is psychosocial support?

It’s access to mental health care. It is about access and support to identify appropriate vocational training, in general, the support one would need to navigate a return to society. Access to medical care or social workers or people who can help deal with trauma in, for example, children – an acute problem for children coming from northeast Syria who may have seen limbs of their family to die or who may have been part of the violence.

We talk about repatriation and rehabilitation, but has your work given you an idea of ​​how we can prevent violent extremism in the first place?

Absolutely. Someone has to be vulnerable and susceptible to radicalization, and most of the time that results from marginalization or some other type of disconnect between groups in a particular place. This only fuels a cycle of extremism and division within a community.

One of our efforts is to work through international entities such as the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience. It is an international non-governmental body made up of advisers from various governments and civil society that engages at a hyperlocal level to try to build greater resilience and understanding within and between communities that can be susceptible to or already experiencing conflicts and divisions that can lead to radicalization and recruitment.

It is at the local level that the indicators will first be seen. It is therefore at the local level that you have the first opportunity to intervene.

What role does the Internet play in radicalization?

Racially or ethnically motivated, violent extremism is something that is transnational and affects us all. This requires that the steps we take to address the problem domestically be consistent with the steps we take to address the problem internationally.

The links abound. They learn from each other, they work together, they inspire each other, they compete to recruit from the same pools. They learn from each other; they are inspired by the manifestos that proliferate on the Internet.

It’s where we explore the ideas and innovators that are shaping healthcare.

From resentful political debates to Covid-19, family Thanksgiving has taken a hit in recent years. To add to this maelstrom, the CDC has some daunting tips for this year’s meal: Discover your family history of cancer.

Share news, tips and commentary with Ben Leonard on [email protected]Ruth Reader at [email protected]Carmen Paun at [email protected] or Grace Scullion at [email protected]

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Today on our Pulse check podcast, Carmen discusses with Alice Miranda Ollstein her report on the abortion opponents’ new strategy – using environmental laws to curb abortion. The approach comes at a time when mifepristone and misoprostol pills, taken at home during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, have become the most common method of abortion in the United States.

The race is on to test an Ebola vaccine in Uganda.

Under the auspices of the World Health Organization, the first vaccines are arriving this week in the central African country to combat a two-month-old haemorrhagic fever outbreak that has killed at least 55 people.

A new vaccine would add to the arsenal against one of the world’s most frightening diseases. If the vaccine proves effective, the United States will probably store it protect against a possible epidemic or bioterrorist attack.

Delay Pressure: Human trials might not be fast enough. The effectiveness of vaccines can only be tested when the disease spreads, and the epidemic may fade too quickly to complete human trials.

If the window closes, it may not reopen soon. The variant at work, the Sudanese strain, had previously been dormant for a decade.

And after: Public health officials will use a ring vaccination strategy, in which contacts of those who test positive are vaccinated at staggered times.

Some will get the real shot initially, while others will get a placebo. If people vaccinated earlier don’t get Ebola, the vaccine works.

But the ring vaccination approach depends on having enough people to test. At present, it is believed that there are only 4,000 possible participants.

Slow start: If public health officials miss their window, it may be because they were caught off guard when the first cases were reported in September. Candidate vaccine developers did not have enough doses to distribute immediately, and WHO and Uganda officials took weeks to iron out regulatory and logistical issues.

“We are unfortunately in this situation again where we are racing against the clock when we could have been better prepared,” said Mark Feinberg, president and CEO of IAVI, a nonprofit research organization working on the most promising of the three WHO vaccines. hope to test.

Health care for “eligible doubles” who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid — low-income people who are elderly or disabled — is expensive, disjointed, and doesn’t serve patients well.

This is the situation that a bipartisan group of senators described in an open letter today asks for advice on how to reform care for 12.2 million people.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the newest ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Sens. Tim Scott (RS.C.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Menendez (DN.J.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) want your thoughts on:

  • The shortcomings of the current system
  • Other models of care that might work better
  • What a new unified system might look like
  • How geography can play a role in coverage and care
  • How coverage could be improved to prevent disease severity

The senators noted that eligible duals were more likely to contract Covid-19 and three times more likely to be hospitalized than patients receiving Medicare only.

From a cost perspective, eligible duplicates make up 34% of Medicare spending, despite representing only 19% of enrollees.

The senators said part of what makes treating this population difficult is that they often suffer from multiple chronic illnesses and physical and mental disabilities.

The letter requests that responses be sent to [email protected] before January 13, 2023.

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