Mental health care in conflict zones

Sadly, the global burden of mental health is under-recognised and enormous: mental health conditions are the leading cause of DALYs worldwide, but many people who experience such disorders lack access to evidence-based care and experience disabling stigma and human rights abuses.

Fortunately there appears to be growing momentum in the awareness and action that the global mental health issue needs, led by such organizations as the Movement for Global Mental Health.

PLoS Medicine has recently published several papers highlighting issues related to global mental health, including a summary of the WHO mhGAP guidelines that provide evidence-based recommendations for managing all mental health disorders in low and middle income settings and an Essay arguing that mental health research governance mechanisms need to be improved at the national level in LMIC

Exacerbating any experience or burden of mental health is armed conflict. Intervention, a multi-disciplinary journal of mental health, psychosocial work and counseling in areas of armed conflict that is associated with the War Trauma Foundation, recently published a special supplement on the topic of integrating mental health care into existing systems of health care during and after complex humanitarian emergencies

Unfortunately only the first and last articles are freely available but they provide an introduction to the issue that is both fascinating and illuminating. For example, the crisis of conflict is said to be an opportunity for change, a way to build better systems and capacity for delivering mental health care, even long after the humanitarian emergency—with its urgency and specialized resourcing— is over.

Recommended reading.

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4 Responses to Mental health care in conflict zones

  1. Great information and links. This is such a big issue and there are so many people in need of help after war trauma whether they at duty or living in a town with war. There are so many the need help to be able to survive and live healthy after trauma. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Peter Ventevogel says:

    Thanks for the posting of this blog.
    Also check out: and the Intervention Group on

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