An Unbearable Reality - The impact of war and displacement on children's mental health in Iraq

Date of webinar: 
22 Aug 2017
Start and finish time of webinar: 
12pm CET (noon); 2pm UTC
Dr. Marcia Brophy, Save the Children International
Eileen McCarthy, Save the Children in Iraq

About the webinar: will be hosting a webinar to explore the very recent publication "An Unbearable Reality – The impact of war and displacement on children’s mental health in Iraq". 

This report, the first comprehensive study of this size since the conflict escalated in 2014, details the heart-breaking accounts from children who have been displaced by the fighting.  The study explores how children’s experiences of violence and displacement have impacted on their mental health and psychosocial needs. It highlights how children are experiencing very different mental health issues depending on whether they fled ISIS early on or stayed and endured its control for several years.

Children who have recently fled talked of “monsters”, “dead bodies in the streets” “bloodied faces” and “bombs”. They spoke of their extreme sorrow of losing loved ones – experiences that are being felt by whole communities in a collective trauma.  Of those who have spent years displaced, the family unit has provided a protective shield for children, although concerningly, experts believe that the findings show a normalization of violence and insecurity and parents overwhelmingly worried about their children’s mental health.         

Despite varied responses to horrible events, in the face of significant shortages, all of these children face dim futures if immediate, targeted and long-term assistance is not given to provide the mental health and psychosocial support that they need.  This webinar will explore how the MHPSS sector can shape and advocate for a wider range of appropriate responses.

To access the publication, please click here.

You can register for the webinar here.

Please note that a number of spaces for online participants is limited and so you are advised to complete registration as soon as possible. Spaces will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you are unable to join the webinar meeting live, a link to the recording of the meeting will be later posted on

If you have any queries regarding the webinar, please contact Renata Reali via e-mail at

About the presenters:

Dr. Marcia Brophy is a Child Psychologist, and a Wellbeing and Mental Health Specialist working in the field for over 15 years. Currently she works as Senior Regional Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Advisor (Middle East & Eurasia) for Save the Children International.  Prior to this she worked as a Mental Health Specialist for refugee communities for UNHCR based in Bangladesh; Regional Technical Advisor for ChildFund International, based in Sri Lanka, advising on their youth programmes across Asia; and as a Mental Health Training Advisor for Shanthiham, a not-for-profit charity in Jaffna, North of Sri Lanka, and for the Sri Lankan Government’s Department of Health. Marcia holds a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the Institute of Education and the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, U.K. respectively.  Marcia was one of the specialists responsible for the “Invisible Wounds” publication.

Eileen McCarthy is the Advocacy & Campaign Manager with Save the Children in Iraq. In this role she leads the advocacy and campaign initiatives for the country office, which covers the Mosul response and Iraqi IDP crisis, as well as the Syrian refugee response. Prior to this she worked with InterAction, Crisis Action, and Action on Armed Violence to support advocacy, protection programming, and campaigning on protection of civilians and victims’ rights in armed conflict in a variety of contexts, including Colombia, Lebanon, Syria, South Sudan, CAR, and on the Arms Trade Treaty. Eileen holds an MSc in International Development & Humanitarian Emergencies from the London School of Economics and a BA in International Political Economy from Fordham University.

About the moderator:

Yvonne Sliep is a community mental health specialist and is currently Global Host for She is also affiliated to the University Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN), South Africa and has completed extensive work in building social fabric and collective healing within war-effected countries. She has conducted awareness raising and risk reduction interventions around GBV using Narrative Theatre in a number of African countries.

Language(s) of the materials: 

This project is funded by: