Mental Health Among Displaced People and Refugees: Making the Case for Action at The World Bank Group
World Bank Group, 2017
“Forcibly displaced people’s mental health needs have often been neglected in response plans. Yet meeting these needs is critical to help displaced persons overcome trauma and rebuild their lives. Without appropriate mental health care, forcibly displaced people will often be unable to benefit fully from other forms of support that are provided to them. […] A shared commitment is needed from national and international actors to champion mental health parity in the provision of health and social services, including in humanitarian emergencies. High priority should go to identifying alternative sources of financing for mental health parity in health systems.”
Vikram Patel and Charlotte Hanlon, 2018
Where There Is No Psychiatrist – A Mental Health Care Manual. Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2018
“This practical manual of mental health care is vital for community health workers, primary care nurses, social workers and primary care doctors, particularly in low-resource settings. This guide gives the reader a basic understanding of mental illness by describing more than thirty clinical problems associated with mental illness and uses a problem-solving approach to guide the reader through their assessment and management. Mental health issues as they arise in specific contexts are described – in refugee camps, in school health programmes, as well as in mental health promotion.”
United Nations, 2020
Although the COVID-19 crisis is, in the first instance, a physical health crisis, it has the seeds of a major mental health crisis as well, if action is not taken. Good mental health is critical to the functioning of society at the best of times. It must be front and centre of every country’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by this crisis and are a priority to be addressed urgently.
Psychological distress in populations is widespread. Many people are distressed due to the immediate health impacts of the virus and the consequences of physical isolation. Many are afraid of infection, dying, and losing family members. Individuals have been physically distanced from loved ones and peers. Millions of people are facing economic turmoil having lost or being at risk of losing their income and livelihoods. Frequent misinformation and rumours about the virus and deep uncertainty about the future are common sources of distress. A long-term upsurge in the number and severity of mental health problems is likely.
In light of the unprecedented impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having across operations worldwide, UNHCR is revising its initial requirements of $33 million and is appealing for an additional $222 million, bringing revised requirements to $255 million to urgently support preparedness and response in situations of forced displacement over the next nine months.
COVID-19 is first and foremost a public health crisis, and within that crisis refugee and other forcibly displaced populations are at greater risk as the pandemic evolves.
UNHCR is focusing on protecting all forcibly displaced populations, prioritizing situations and
contexts—formal and informal—with large populations of refugees, IDPs, stateless persons and
other people of concern to ensure that health and WASH systems and services are shored up,
reinforced and quickly adapted.
United Nations Coordinated Appeal, 2020
COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on all countries, both in terms of prompting the scaling of public health preparedness and response and protection of vulnerable populations, and in terms of requiring mitigation of broader social and economic impacts. While all countries need to respond to COVID-19, those with existing humanitarian crises are particularly vulnerable, and less equipped and able to do so. Humanitarian needs may also occur in other countries as a result of excessive pressure on health systems and the overall delivery of essential services, as well as secondary effects on employment, the economy and mobility, the rule of law, protection of human rights, and possible social discontent and unrest.
“The world is only as strong as the weakest health system. This COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan aims to enable us to fight the virus in the world’s poorest countries, and address the needs of the most vulnerable people.” – António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
UNFPA Humanitarian Office, 2019
Millions in Syria and Yemen fleeing relentless conflict, the Rohingya seeking refuge in Bangladesh, girls abducted in Nigeria, Venezuelans driven by economic collapse into Brazil — today’s crises are becoming more widespread, complex and protracted and they continue to take a disproportionate toll on women and girls. War, human rights violations, underdevelopment, climate change and natural disasters are driving people to leave their homes in unprecedented numbers.Humanitarian crises produce psychological suffering and trauma that threaten the health and well-being of affected people, and erode global efforts for peace building and recovery. In 2019, nearly 143 million people needed humanitarian aid and protection. UNFPA estimates that more than 35 million are women and girls of reproductive age.
InfoMigrants, Charlotte Hauswedell, 2019
Human trafficking between Africa and Europe has not only thrived in recent years, it has grown into a highly abusive system involving corrupt elites and political networks. Jan Philipp-Scholz, the author of a new book on the migration business, has spoken with migrants in Africa on nearly every step of their journey. Their testimonies reveal the extent of abuse and human rights violations happening on Europe’s doorstep.
A community of mental health innovators – researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, service user advocates, and donors from around the world – sharing innovative resources and ideas to promote mental health and improve the lives of people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders. MHIN aims to facilitate the development and uptake of effective mental health interventions.
Derrick Silove, Peter Ventevogel, Susan Rees, 2017
This paper considers contemporary issues in the refugee mental health field, including developments in research, conceptual models, social and psychological interventions, and policy. Prevalence data yielded by cross sectional epidemiological studies do not allow a clear distinction to be made between situational forms of distress and frank mental disorder, a shortcoming that may be addressed by longitudinal studies (WPA).
This guideline provides recommendations aimed primarily at front-line health-care providers (e.g. general practitioners, nurses, paediatricians, gynaecologists) providing care to children, including adolescents up to the age of 18 years, who have, or may have, experienced sexual abuse, including sexual assault or rape. It can also be useful for other cadres of specialist healthcare providers who are likely to see children or adolescents.