Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Hidden Toll of War

Armed conflicts reached an all-time high in 2016 – 53 in 37 countries, says the paper. About 12% of the world’s population were living in a conflict zone and 69 million people were forcibly displaced by violence – the highest number since the second world war. There are major humanitarian crises brought about by conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
One in five people living in areas beset by conflict have mental health conditions, according to the World Health Organization that suggests far more help for survivors is needed.

22% of people living in conflict areas have depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Women are more likely to be affected than men and the burden rises with age. In about 9% of the population, the mental disorder is moderate to severe. In 13%, it is mild.

Data published in 2016 suggested one in 16 people in conflict zones had mental health problems. But the WHO says its figures are more robust because they are based on 129 studies, of which 45 have not been included in estimates before.

“Although the clinical significance of mild mental disorders in emergencies can be contested, the clinical needs of people with severe mental disorders are too often neglected,” says the paper, which calls for more resources to be directed into mental healthcare in conflict zones. "Mental healthcare must be prioritised in countries affected by conflict, not least for the well-established links between mental health, functioning and country development.”
Substance abuse and alcohol disorders were not included.

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