Global Mental Health Day - Mental Health in Conflict and War

The Centre for Global Health is inviting leading researchers, institutions and policy makers to hear about their experiences and latest findings in the fields of mental health and conflict at an open seminar within the yearly Global Mental Health Day. The Save the Children photo exhibit "Children fleeing ISIS" will be displayed for the first time in Norway.

Photo: UNHCR Helps Displaced in Erbil, Iraq. United Nations Photo flickr

Registration

Please sign up for this event by December 5, 2017.

We ask you to please inform us if you have signed up and for unforeseen reasons cannot attend.

Program

09:00 Welcome and introductions

Andrea S. Winkler, Professor, Department of Community Medicine and Global Health, and Director of the Centre for Global Health, University of Oslo

Suraj Thapa, Ass. Professor, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Division of Mental Health and Addiction/ Research Group on Traumatic Stress, Forced Migration and Global Mental Health, University of Oslo

Norbert Skokauskas, Professor, Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare Department of Mental Health Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU, Trondhjem

09:15-10:00 Addressing the challenge of scaling-up mental health interventions for conflict-affected populations Bayard Roberts, Professor in Health Systems and Psycology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
10:00-10:25

Forced migration, mental health and vulnerability? Obligations of states to prevent ill-treatment and ensure identification and follow up of vulnerable migrants.

Nora Sveaas, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo

10:25-10: 50

Mental health of women: Ukrainian realities in the context of the antiterrorist operation

 

 

Iryna Pinchuk, Director, Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Social and Forensic Psychiatry and Drug Abuse Ministry of Health of Ukraine

10:50-11: 30 Panel discussion and Q&A  
11:30-12:00

Complimentary lunch 

Photo exhibit "Children fleeing ISIS"

12:00-12:25 Stressors and stress reactions among UN peacekeepers in conflict situations Lars Weisæth, Research Professor Emeritus at the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies and Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo
12:25-12:50 The impact of war and conflict on children's mental health – the cases of Iraq and Syria Espen Gran, Associate Area Director, Middle East and Eastern Europe desk, Save the Children Norway
12:50-13:15 The mental health of young refugees in resettlement countries Matthew Hodes, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Imperial College London
13:15-14:55 Panel discussion and Q&A  
14:55-14:30 Round up - final comments

Norbert Skokauskas, Professor, Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare Department of Mental Health Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU, Trondhjem

Suraj Thapa, Ass. Professor, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Division of Mental Health and Addiction/ Research Group on Traumatic Stress, Forced Migration and Global Mental Health, University of Oslo

Bayard Roberts, Professor in Health Systems and Psycology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Conference concept

Mental health care is receiving increasing attention and its practice is now also established in low income countries. Despite the cumulating evidence that mental health is especially important in conflict and post-conflict countries, the scope of the problem and limited resources available create a major challenge for addressing mental health in a global context.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and many other global partners have progressively scaled up their activities on certain aspects of mental health, such as substance abuse which is also a specific target of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, on the other side major mental health problems have been left out of the UN Development Agenda.

Current evidence shows that populations affected by conflict can have more than a 5-fold increase of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), substance abuse and secondary symptoms such as sleeplessness, irritability and hopelessness – all of which interfere with the normal healthy functioning of people and communities. Mental illness and psychosocial disorders, if not treated, can be long-lasting, debilitating and progressive. They can worsen into psychosis, manifest into further violence, such as criminal activity and domestic violence, and the trauma can be passed on to the children and future generations, as demonstrated by Nazi Holocaust survivors and children living in Cambodia. Children are especially vulnerable in conflict settings in their developmental years. 

Studies of refugee populations show that, depending on the country of origin and level of conflict, acute clinical depression and PTSD varies between 40% and 70%. Initial studies of refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina showed that 45% of the refugees suffered from psychiatric symptoms and 25% were disabled due to these symptoms. According to the International Organization for Migration, in 2015 the highest levels of forced displacement globally were recorded since World War II, with a dramatic increase in the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people across various regions of the world.

The current evidence demonstrates that conflict affected populations including refugees suffer from mental illness at a much higher level than non-conflict affected populations. These issues last for many years after the conflict is over or after refugees have settled in other countries. Furthermore, future generations can be affected by the trauma and violence experienced by their parents. Thus, there is a great need to underline the issue of mental ill health  in conflict and post conflict situations. We are therefore inviting the leading researchers, institutions and policy makers to hear about their experiences and the latest findings in this field. 

Suggested read

Save the Children has recently released two reports on this topic: Syria: Invisible Wounds: The impact of six years of war on the mental health of Syria’s children Syria: Invisible Wounds: The impact of six years of war on the mental health of Syria’s children

Irak: An Unbreakable Reality: The impact of war and displacement on children’s mental health in Iraq Irak: An Unbreakable Reality: The impact of war and displacement on children’s mental health in Iraq

 

Tags: mental health, conflict, peace, Global health, global health policy, war
Published Sep. 12, 2017 10:58 AM - Last modified Nov. 30, 2017 5:54 PM