As the humanitarian situation inside Syria continues to worsen, mental health needs among refugees who have fled the country are steadily increasing. Ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) wants to highlight the plight of Syrians in northern Iraq’s Domeez refugee camp, where MSF’s counselors and psychologists are seeing growing numbers of patients presenting with far more acute symptoms than a year ago.

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Some 42,300 Syrian refugees have passed through a border crossing into Iraq since it reopened on August 15.

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The number of Syrians registering as refugees at Domeez camp continues to climb, but there are not enough services in the camps to keep pace with the increased demand.

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A dialysis unit support project located in the Kirkuk general hospital implemented by the international medical humanitarian organization MSF is complete.

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More then 50,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Iraq, including 42,000 in the Kurdistan region where many live in overcrowded camps.

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An overview of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) activities in Iraq as of January 25, 2011.

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Iraqis have faced two wars, several years of embargoes, and seven years of instability and violence, which has led to the disruption of the country's health system.

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Snapshots from MSF mental health programs in Kashmir, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iraq show some of the complex issues confronted by those who seek counseling.  

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On May 29, around 11 a.m., a bomb targeting a military recruitment center surrounded by civilian locations exploded in the town of Sinjar, Ninawa Governorate, in Northern Iraq causing at least 16 deaths and a high number of wounded, among them many civilians. Sixty patients have so far been received in the local hospital which, as most medical structures in Iraq, faces a dire lack of medical material and qualified staff.

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Following violent clashes in Baghdad, Basra, Babel, and neighboring provinces, an influx of wounded patients has flooded hospitals in those areas. Medical facilities are experiencing shortages of the materiel and medicines required to treat emergency patients.

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