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Crisis within crisis: the psychosocial toll of Lebanon’s economic and political turmoil on Syrian refugee adolescents

Research report

Written by Sally Youssef, Nicola Jones, Agnieszka Małachowska

Research report

Syrian refugee adolescents in crisis-stricken Lebanon are facing growing challenges to their overall well-being, including their psychosocial well-being. This report explores the impacts of this compound crisis on Syrian refugee adolescents’ psychosocial well-being and their opportunities to exercise voice and agency in their family and community.

With almost all the Syrian population in Lebanon sinking into severe poverty, the country’s compound crisis is taking a heavy toll on the mental health and psychosocial well-being of ever more vulnerable Syrian refugees. Isolation and mental health problems have been increasing among Syrian refugees, particularly adolescents and young people, as a direct result of the pressures caused by the economic crisis. Stigma surrounding mental health and lack of access to support services threatens the psychosocial well-being of all adolescents, but especially married girls.

Drawing on a capabilities approach, the report presents findings from participatory research undertaken with 30 Syrian refugee adolescent girls and boys in Lebanon between 2019 and 2022. It explores gendered differences in voice and agency, and psychosocial well-being, by focusing on adolescents’ lived experiences amid the turbulent and deteriorating socioeconomic and political environment.

It concludes with recommendations for policy and programming so that refugee adolescents can be supported to reach their full capabilities.

Authors: Sally Youssef, Nicola Jones, Agnieszka Małachowska and Marcel Saleh