Local group makes documentary on mental health crisis of Syrian refugee children

By  | 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A small group in the Ozarks is headed to Jordan to document the mental heath crisis among Syrian refugee children.

Andrew Cline is an associate professor of Media and Journalism at Missouri State University. Next month, he's heading to the Middle East on a project very close to his heart. It's a documentary on children caught in the middle of Syria's civil war.

"Our topic is going to be the mental health crisis, the looming mental health crisis among Syrian refugee children," Cline said. "More than half of the 11 million refugees are children."

Cline and his documentary team are headed to Jordan with the Syrian American Medical Society, also known as SAMS.

"Many are removed from places like Aleppo and taken to SAMS-run hospitals and SAMS-run clinics," Cline said.

SAMS gets volunteer doctors to travel to the various stops along the route out of Syria, assisting in medical needs along the way.

"We're going to be slamming face first into what is currently the largest humanitarian crisis in the world," Cline said.

He said the Syrian children have a lot to face that's out of their control.

"Many, if they have a parent left, it's their mother. Many of them don't have a parent left. Many of them have horrific injuries," Cline said. "Many of them have been living between the bombs for a long time and, so, bodies can be fixed, but the mind is going to take a little more work."

Cline said the long term effect is daunting.

"Doctors with SAMS and others are just now beginning to realize that a generation of children are going to be massively affected and so this is what we'll be focusing on," Cline said.

Cline and the rest of the team hopes to visit the Middle East more than once for their documentary.

But this will be their first time to see the Syrian refugee camps up close, as they try to capture what the war has done to its youngest refugees.