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Lori Zoellner is interviewed in this article from The Daily about her collaboration with the Somali Reconciliation Institute to create a program to promote trauma-focused treatment.

Excert from The Daily

Healing war’s invisible wounds in Somalia

By Ulrica Luo, Oct 9, 2017

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is just what the name implies: an overwhelming, often debilitating anxiety that follows a traumatic event in someone’s life. It could be the death of a loved one, a physical assault, or really anything you might find traumatising. Many associate PTSD with soldiers returning from war, but for thousands living in Somalia, there is no escape from the near-constant conflict that’s plagued the North African country for over two decades.

“People are frightened by killings, diseases, and hunger,” international studies professor Daniel Chirot said.

Somalia’s government collapsed in 1991, leading to infighting between regional clans. The current central leadership is weak, and cannot effectively enforce their laws in large portions of the country. This power vacuum led to regional fighting, extremism, and an untold number of human rights violations against the Somali people. As expected, PTSD rates are high in Somalia, but traditional Islamic beliefs, language and cultural differences, and limited access to care are holding sufferers back from seeking help.

A team of UW psychologists and behavioral scientists recently won a grant through the Population Health Initiative , which awarded five pilot research grants to faculty-led teams to address a human-centered issue in global health. They are aiming to develop an effective and low-cost PTSD treatment within community mosques in Somalia. According to the researchers, no Islamic-focused trauma treatments currently exist.

“Mental health is a new thing to the world,” Chirot said. “In the past, there was no such thing as mental health and most traditional cultures consider mental issues as your family’s own business.”

This team has been working with the Somali Reconciliation Institute for about five years. The founder and director of the SRI, Duniya Lang, approached UW psychology professor and team member Lori Zoellner about creating a program to promote trauma-focused reconciliation within the Somali community.

Read the entire article here .