World Mental Health Day: Support Conflict Survivors

Ensure Psychosocial Services Are Based on Rights, Autonomy, and Dignity.
By: Human Rights Watch Organization
SAN DIEGO - Oct. 10, 2022 - PRLog -- By: Human Rights Watch Organization

(Brussels) – Governments, UN agencies, and humanitarian organizations should take concrete steps to develop and invest in psychosocial support for people affected by armed conflicts, Human Rights Watch said today. In line with the theme of World Mental Health Day 2022 on October 10, to "make mental health and well-being for all a global priority," the focus should be on community-based, rights-respecting services both in conflict countries and in countries where people are fleeing to.

Conflict-related violence can lead to psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. Human Rights Watch research in countries including Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Gaza, Iraq, South Sudan, and Syria has shown that people, particularly women and people with disabilities, often face barriers in accessing mental health services.

"Millions of people around the world are experiencing the devastating impacts of war on their mental health, but few receive the support they need," said Shantha Rau Barriga, disability rights director at Human Rights Watch. "The war in Ukraine is the latest reminder that governments and humanitarian agencies need to recognize mental health as a priority and expand psychosocial support services to all those affected by conflicts."

The Global Mental Health Summit, on October 13-14, 2022, in Rome, is an opportunity for leaders to affirm the mental health impact of armed conflicts and to commit to providing appropriate psychosocial support to all those affected, including women and people with disabilities. Governments, donors, and humanitarian aid organizations should prioritize community-based, rights-respecting services that uphold people's autonomy and dignity.

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