Syrian interpreters need more government support as ‘only available staff’ to traumatised families

Interpreters for Syrian refugees should be given psychological support as a “priority” due to the stress the work causes, according to a study.

Researchers found that while arrangements under the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme (SVPRP) had exceeded the expectations of refugees, there were concerns about support given to interpreters.

The study, which looked at how the scheme was rolled out in Edinburgh as a way to provide guidance for other authorities, highlights how the workers were often the “only available staff” to families, which saw them build close relationships.

Interpreters reported breaking into tears during meetings and suffering bouts of depression as a result of what they were dealing with, often providing help out of hours.

SVPRP is a programme which commits the UK Government to resettling 20,000 Syrian refugees. It was announced by the Government following a public outcry over the fate of those attempting the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

More than 8,000 refugees have so far arrived in the UK under the scheme, which has had a “truly transformative” impact on people’s lives, according to a recent report from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Refugees have said they are grateful for the “genuine welcome” they have received in the UK, and are heartened that their children have been able to attend school and catch up on lost education, the report said.

But the latest study, published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health, indicates that not enough support id put in place for the interpreters required to support the families.

One of the interpreters said in the study: “I just feel down and depressed because every day you are hearing what they’ve been through and it brings back memories to me, because we’ve been through this as well in my country – I was crying with them.”

Another added: “I’ve done quite a lot of work with…

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