World Awareness for
Children in Trauma
WACIT Related Research

Evaluation of stakeholders' experiences of impact of WACIT events

Panos Vostanis, John Maltby & Michelle O'Reilly (2016-17)

Sponsored by the Research Impact Development Fund

Following the completion of the first phase of the project, we established key stakeholders' views and experiences, as well as their recommendations how to revise and improve it in the next phase, thus aim for more sustainable results.  To this effect, the aim of this study was to establish evidence on stakeholders' experiences of the international training workshops and related activities in six countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia and Brazil).  Through semi-structured interviews, we explored experiences of the training workshops and related events, the role of the organisations, the children they serve and challenges they may be facing in meeting their psychosocial needs.  Ultimately, the objective of this study was to establish views and recommendations how we can build on this initiative, and particularly how to make it sustainable to help more children in the future.

International Child Mental Health Surveys (ICMH) 

Study-Group: Dejan Stevanovic, Serbia; Olayinka Atilola, Nigeria; Yatan Pal Singh Balhara, India; Mohamad Avicenna, Indonesia; Hasan Kandemir, Turkey; Knez Rajna and Franic Toslav, Croatia; Petrov Petar, Bulgaria; Panos Vostanis, UK 
This group of researchers from low income countries completed, without any resources, an international school child mental health survey that has provided
evidence to respective governments to plan services. A current project is looking at the impact of traumatic events on child mental health. The ICMHG co-ordinates a Network, and provides free advice and support to young clinicians and researchers from low income countries.

ICMH Study Group

Exploring Understanding of Risk and Protective Factors in Relation to Resilience-Building for Children in Jakarta, Indonesia

Evelyn Sharples, Jessica Deighton & Panos Vostanis
Data were collected during a one week field trip to Jakarta, Indonesia. Observational notes were taken at one care home and at a training session for care workers from three Jakarta care homes. A focus group was conducted with six 11-12 year olds where notes were taken with the assistance of a translator, and three semi-structured interviews were conducted with care workers attending the training session, one in English and two with the assistance of a translator. Informed consent was gained from all participants or carers where participants were under 16. Data were also collected from an online survey consisting of two open-ended questions taken by 121 psychology students attending a seminar.

The psychology students identified bullying and abuse as the most significant risk factors, followed by parenting and homework. With the most common protective factors identified being family support and peer relationships. Children and care workers from Jakarta care homes indicated similar factors. The most common risk factors were: surrounding environment and socio-economic factors. The most common protective factors identified were: stable and secure environment; loving and caring support systems; and the children focused on the idea of religion and prayer as a coping strategy.

                  Evelyn at Jakarta orphanage                              

Psychosocial Intervention for Children Exposed to Ethnic Conflict in Kenya
Elijah Getanda 

This study established the mental health needs of children exposed to ethnic conflict, and led to the evaluation of a school-based psychoeducation intervention. The findings will provide a model of helping children in traumatized communities in similar situations.

Stakeholders' views have been published in:

                                                                                                     Elijah with children in Kenya

Effect of Parenting Factors on the Association between War Trauma and Mental Health Problems among Syrian Refugee Children in Turkey

Seyda Eruyar (2016-2018)
There are more than four million Syrians had fled neighbouring countries to escape persecution and armed conflict since beginning of the Syrian Civil War (2011). Over 2.5 million of the refugees are currently living in Turkey and more than half of them are children aged under 18. This project examined the relationship between being exposed to war trauma and mental health problems among Syrian refugee living in Turkey. In particular, it investigated the role of parenting and attachment styles as protective and risk factors on this relationship.

                                             Seyda and Panos at the Hayat Foundation in Turkey

Evaluation of Parent, Teacher and Youth Training in Pakistan
Sajida Hassan (2010 - todate)
Training courses are being delivered to parents, teachers, youth and volunteers to provide them with skills to recognize and help children with mental health problems. To date, more than 300 teachers and parents have attended the intensive courses, and another 300 teachers have attended the awareness days. Evaluation has shown improvement in both knowledge and awareness.

                                            School-based training in Pakistan

Mental Health Needs of Young People in Care in Turkey:
Experiences of Young People, Carers and Professionals

Fatih Sobaci (2016-2019)

Children in care are among the most vulnerable individuals in society and are at risk of developing a range of mental health problems. Therefore, it is essential that they receive psychological support from mental health and other services, and that their mental health needs are met early. For these reasons, it is important to establish the types of supports that children with such needs currently receive through social care professionals and carers who play a fundamental role in identifying mental health problems, and the young people themselves.

The project conducted a total of 37 qualitative interviews with looked after children, care professionals (social workers, residential workers) and mental health professionals. The aim of this study is to contribute to existing knowledge on the experiences of these stakeholder groups on how the mental health needs of children in care in Turkey are currently met.

Protective Factors from the Effects of Civil War on Children in Libya

Ahmad Farag (2015-2018)

A serious military conflict between two militias has erupted in the eastern part of Libya in the second city of Benghazi, located 1,000 kms to the east of the Capital Tripoli. As a consequence of this conflict, the level of violence has increased and around 105,000 Benghazian citizens have fled to neighbouring cities. The first aim of this study is to explore the effects of civil war on Libyan children mental health; the second aim is to explore how protective factors may assist the Libyan family to moderate harmful impact of civil war on their children. Being able to investigate the impact of the Libyan war on children will provide more understanding for a society imploding upon itself, and on the ways in which children cope with the situation.

Feasibility Study of Theraplay Intervention for Syrian Refugee Families with Attachment Difficulties in Turkey

Seyda Eruyar (2017-2018)

The aim of this study is to establish the feasibility of adapting and delivering theraplay for Syrian refugee families in Istanbul, the cultural appropriateness of measures, context of the intervention, and preliminary trends on its suitability for this group. This follows an earlier study that explored the role of a range of parental factors in mediating and moderating the impact of pre- and post-migration trauma on refugee children. Children were screened for attachment difficulties from a school for Syrian refugee children in Istanbul and alloacted to either a ten-week theraplay or a waiting list group to receive the intervention at the end of the study.

Resilience Role of Religious Coping Strategies in Saudi Arabia Children

Nouf Alshehri (2017-2020)

The objective of this research is to investigate the role of family and community in protecting children from developing mental health problems. It also aims to understand the effect of positive religious coping on the protective value of family and community. It takes place in areas of law socioeconomic index because of the high rate of child mental health problems.

Creative Interventions with Syrian Refugee Children in British Schools

Virginia Kocik (2016-2020)

The refugee population in British schools is ever evolving – most recently with families fleeing Syria. There is a noticeable need to support the emotional wellbeing of these children as they adjust to their new lives in Britain. This piece of research explores how a creative-therapeutic group intervention can facilitate trauma reprocessing, as well as addressing emotional symptoms associated with war trauma.
Focus groups including parents, teachers and child refugees were used to gain the thoughts, feelings and ideas around this intervention, which will iinform the next stage of a feasibility study.

'Awareness of mental health well-being, problems and disorders'
Dr Alvina Ali, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, UK
'Anxiety management and nurturing techniques'
Anne Pickering, Independent Social Worker, UK
'Our Children, Our Future''
Dr Elias Anukwe, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, UK
'Protecting the Future'
Dr Elias Anukwe, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, UK
'Mental Health needs for Looked-After children'
Fatih Sobaci, PhD student, UK and Social Worker, Turkey
'Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)'
Dr Khalid Karim, Senior Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Consultant Child Psychiatrist , UK
'Management of ASD'
Dr Khalid Karim, Senior Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Consultant Child Psychiatrist , UK
'Left Behind Children in China'  
Luo Qinghong (Moli), Teacher of Department of Student Education, Chongqing University of Science and Technology, China
'Left Behind Children in China'  (Chinese)
Luo Qinghong (Moli), Teacher of Department of Student Education, Chongqing University of Science and Technology, China
'Self-Harm in Young Children
Dr Pallab Majumder, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, UK
'Self-Harm' - How can we help
Dr Pallab Majumder, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, UK
'Self-Harm' - Treatment and safety
Dr Pallab Majumder, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, UK
'Discussing Engagement' 
Praf Solanki (Community Psychiatric Nurse) & Idil Aden (Student Nurse), UK
'Helping refugee children' 
Seyda Eruyar, PhD Student, UK
'Helping refugee children' (Turkish)
Seyda Eruyar, PhD Student, UK
'School's role in promoting resilience in children' Part 1
Tania Hart,
Senior Lecturer Mental Heath, UK
'School's role in promoting resilience in children' Part 2
Tania Hart,
Senior Lecturer Mental Heath, University of Northampton, UK
Keeping Children Safe
Ejalal Jalal,
PhD Student, University of Leicester, UK
Sharing & Learning
Mark WaddingtonUK


Vostanis, P. (2017) Global child mental health: Emerging challenges and opportunities. Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 22, 4, 177-178.

Eruyar, S., Huemer, J. & Vostanis, P. (2017) How should child mental health services respond to the refugee crisis? Child & Adolescent Mental Health doi:1111/camh.12252

Getanda, E., Vostanis, P. & O'Reilly, M. (2017) Exploring the challenges of meetings child mental health needs through community engagement in Kenya. Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 22, 4, 201-208.