This Migration Policy Institute report summarizes results from the ground-breaking Bahçeşehir Study of Syrian Refugee Children in Turkey, which found that 45 percent of refugee children displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – ten times the prevalence among children around the world – and 44 percent reported symptoms of depression.
Syrian refugee children are also at risk for a range of mental health issues resulting from their traumatic experiences. This report draws on the results of a study on Syrian refugee children, conducted in Islahiye camp in southeast Turkey, which assesses children’s levels of trauma and mental health distress. These children had experienced very high levels of trauma: 79 percent had experience a death in the family; 60 percent had seen someone get kicked, shot at, or physically hurt; and 30 percent had themselves been kicked, shot at, or physically hurt. Almost half (45 percent) displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – ten times the prevalence among children around the world – and 44 percent reported symptoms of depression. Approximately one-quarter reported daily psychosomatic pains in their limbs, with one in five suffering from daily headaches. (…) In comparison, in the United States only 1 to 2 percent of prepubescent children and 3 to 8 percent of adolescents are diagnosed with depression.
Selcuk Sirin and Lauren Rogers-Sirin, The Educational and Mental Health of Syrian Refugee Children. Migration Policy Institute, 2015.