On World Mental Health Day..Watch calls for support for conflict victims and to make mental health a “priority” | Hurriyat News

Human Rights Watch called on governments, UN agencies, and humanitarian organizations to take concrete steps to develop and invest in psychosocial support for people affected by armed conflict.

She also urged making mental health and well-being a cross-cutting priority, and said the focus should be on rights-respecting community services both in countries experiencing conflict and in other countries, especially where people are fleeing.

This coincided with the World Mental Health Day, which falls on the tenth of October of each year, and days before the World Mental Health Summit in Italy.

The organization said conflict-related violence can lead to stress, 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 suffering from the devastating effects of war on their mental health, but few are getting the support they need,” said Shanta Rao Bariga, disability rights director at Human Rights Watch.

She added that 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 conflict.

The organization pointed out that the World Mental Health Summit, from 13 to 14 October in Rome, is an opportunity for leaders to emphasize the impact of armed conflict on mental health, and to commit to providing appropriate psychosocial support to all affected, including women and people with disabilities.

It is estimated that 22% of those living in areas affected by armed conflict suffer from a mental health condition, compared to about 13% of the general population. However, the services available are often insufficient.

In Syria, for example, where approximately 7.5 million children and adolescents currently require mental health support, most parents interviewed by Human Rights Watch spoke of the devastating impact of conflict on the mental health of their children, saying that they and their children did not have access to mental health and psychosocial support services.

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