Wednesday October 16, 2019

One in Five People in Conflict-Affected Areas Live with Mental Health Condition

That is three times more than the general population worldwide

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Conflicted, Mental Health, Condition
A patient looks from behind bars at a psychiatric hospital during a ceremony marking the World Mental Health Day in Sanaa, Yemen October 10, 2019. VOA

To mark World Mental Health Day, the International Committee of the Red Cross is calling for greater psycho-social support for millions of people caught in violence and armed conflict.

A survey finds more than one in five people in conflict-affected areas live with a mental health condition ranging from depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress.  That is three times more than the general population worldwide.

Despite the growing problem, the International Committee of the Red Cross says mental health conditions among people subjected to war and violence are generally overlooked. It warns the hidden wounds will have long-term, even life-threatening impacts, if left untreated.

Ida Andersen is ICRC lead psychologist for Africa. She works with people in crisis in countries such as Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Burundi and South Sudan.  She says people exposed to extreme violence often have sleep disorders, including insomnia or nightmares. Some suffer from schizophrenia, become overly aggressive or have suicidal tendencies.

Conflicted, Mental Health, Condition
A survey finds more than one in five people in conflict-affected areas live with a mental health condition ranging from depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress. Pixabay

She tells VOA on Skype from Nairobi that mental health needs for victims of war are as important as water, food and shelter. She says therapeutic help must be part of an integrated response.

“Mental health and psycho-social needs need to be considered along with other needs and the response to them should occur simultaneously…It is about providing what is needed as soon as it is needed,” said Andersen.

Andersen says talking about problems is what works best with adults in distress. Drawing, however, works best with children.

“We carry out these mental health and psycho-social interventions where we use drawings as a way of allowing the child to express him- or herself,” said Andersen. “These children have often times experienced terrible violence and they barely have the vocabulary to talk about it and through the drawings, they are able to express a lot of things.”

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The Red Cross is calling for increased recognition of the mental health consequences of humanitarian crises. It says investing in mental health and psycho-social support saves lives. Such investment also reaps economic benefits in post-conflict environments. It notes every dollar invested in treatment for depression can lead to a $5 return in better health. (VOA)

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Majority of Indians opt Physical Wellbeing over Mental Wellbeing: Study

Survey reveals that 64 per cent Indians believe that is equally important to have both, physical and mental health

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Indians
A survey reveals that 64 per cent Indians believe that is equally important to have both, physical and mental health. Pixabay

A majority of Indians, at 75 per cent, are preoccupied about their physical wellbeing, over mental wellbeing at 62 per cent, a survey by global market reseach agency Ipsos has found.

The survey, conducted to coincide with the World Mental Health Day, found 64 per cent Indians believe that is equally important to have both, physical and mental health.

Indians want a clear shift in the handling and perception of mental illness. As many as 64 per cent Indians want the stigma attached with mental health issues to go and they would prefer if it was treated like any other illness. Further, 74 per cent Indians exhort adoption of a more tolerant attitude towards those with mental illness in the society.

Health
A majority of Indians, at 75 per cent, are preoccupied about their physical wellbeing, over mental wellbeing at 62 per cent. Pixabay

The survey also shows a more positive and empathetic change coming about towards those with signs of mental health conditions with 64 per cent urban Indians believe seeing a mental health specialist or therapist, as a sign of strength.

“Indians are recognising that being healthy and well is a combination of both, physical and mental wellbeing and both work in tandem. Also mental health issues are like any other illness and it is alright to see a doctor for alleviating symptoms,” says Monica Gangwani, Executive Director & Country Service Line Leader, Healthcare, Ipsos India.

Indians
Indians want a clear shift in the handling and perception of mental illness. PIxabay

The Ipsos survey found that views around mental health somewhat disjointed and devoid of clear consensus. Aout half of Indians polled (52 per cent), disagree that increased spending on mental health services is a waste of money. However, 27 per cent think it is a wasteful expenditure, while 17 per cent were neutral, 3 per cent were undecided and 1 per cent refused to tender opinion.

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As many as 39 per cent Indians reject exclusion of someone from public office, on the grounds of mental health history, while 32 per cent agree on exclusion, 25 per cent were neutral, 3 per cent undecided and 1 per cent refused an opinion. (IANS)