Safe and Sound reinforces healthy coping strategies among refugee adolescents by contextualizing psychosocial support programs within learning environments, and engages parents and educators throughout the process.
A study conducted in 2017 by Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT)
and CCECS found that almost 70% of Syrian adolescents living in Lebanon show symptoms indicating mild depression, anxiety disorders, hostile behavior. Traumatic experiences has disrupted their behavioral reactions and educational progress.
Project Safe and Sound is a 10-week intervention, adapted from the Living Peace Institute model in Central Africa, and contextualized within informal education in Lebanon. The curriculum is designed to guide refugee adolescents through the different stages of identifying and alleviating physiological and emotional stressors, and local mental health specialists deliver trainings to prepare educators to facilitate psycho-education sessions. To optimize the acquired skills outside the school, parents also receive training to better understand adolescents’ behavior and to nurture positive social networks necessary for safe and non-violent environments.
The project was implemented in 5 schools in Bekaa reaching more than 1100 students, their parents, and educators during 2019-2020. Key findings revealed that adolescents experienced: (1) an increase in positive coping behavior; (2) more support in the family; and (3) a shift towards a broader acceptance of emotional expression. In addition, the majority of parents reported satisfaction and requested a continuation of the PSS program.