Khazer - Mental health professionals say many displaced Mosul residents experience nightmares, anxiety, depression and aggression
Six-year-old Mustafa suffers nightmares, cries at the sound of airplanes and occasionally wets himself, symptoms that worsened last year when an explosion in Mosul killed his cousin and wounded his father before his eyes.
He was a young witness to more than two years of Daesh rule and months of heavy fighting aimed at driving the extremists from Iraq's largest city. Like countless Iraqis, he shows symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, an epidemic borne of years of war that is overwhelming the country's limited mental health services.
"He wants me to always stay with him. He is afraid, he is scared of loud noises. Even when the children speak loudly he becomes scared," Intisar Jadan Sultan, Mustafa's mother, said at the Khazer camp for displaced people.
Mental health professionals say many displaced Mosul residents experience nightmares, anxiety, depression, aggression and irritability, all signs of PTSD, a condition that may develop as a result of exposure to serious violence.
"The rate of the population in Mosul that has been affected during this war, it must be double than in other wars," said Dr Karzan Jalal Shah, director of the Irbil Psychiatric Hospital. "As a result of living under Daesh rule for two years, not only the war, but the killings, beheadings, cutting off of hands in front of people, everyone will have some kind of psychological symptoms."
The hospital receives about five patients from Mosul every day, and there is little it can do beyond referring them to private organisations. The hospital has only seven psychiatrists, who receive only a quarter of their salary, and little medication because of the severe financial crisis affecting the Kurdish regional government.
As a result, waiting lists are long and they can dedicate only a few minutes to each patient, many of whom never turn up again because they cannot afford to regularly travel between the camps and Irbil, an hour's drive away. "People come until they feel better, but it takes time to treat these cases," Dr Shah said.