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Mental Health & Social Work Support

In recent years, there has been increasing acknowledgement of the important role mental health plays in achieving global development goals. Depression is one of the leading causes of disability. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. People with severe mental health conditions die prematurely due to preventable physical conditions. More specifically, mental health illnesses spike during disasters and conflicts.

Communities and individuals during and after conflicts and disasters are at higher risks for psychological distress and mental health conditions. These conflicts and disasters create an overwhelming, chaotic, and uncertain environment. Communities are often trying to cope with losing their home, community, loved ones, and livelihoods. That is why it is International Medical Relief’s (IMR) goal to go beyond the medical condition in order to treat each patient holistically. IMR’s volunteers help patients manage their mental health illnesses as well as referring them to local support networks for long term care.

Overview

International Medical Relief works shoulder-to-shoulder with local officials and partners to build local capacities and provide sustainable and comprehensive mental health services and psychosocial support. By emphasizing the importance of mental health education, this will promote the overall health and well-being of vulnerable individuals and communities. IMR’s vision is to improve access to high quality mental health services that fit the needs of the specific community we are in, specifically in communities affected by disasters or conflicts. IMR provides community health education classes that focus specifically on mental health topics. We have conducted a children’s program engaging the youth in therapeutic activities designed in cooperation with children therapists specializing in trauma and loss. We also hold classes that focus on coping mechanisms and grieving.

  • Among people who have experienced war or other conflict in the previous 10 years, 1 in 11 (9%) will have a moderate or severe mental disorder
  • Almost all people affected by emergencies will experience psychological distress, which for most people will improve over time.
  • 1 in 5 people (22%) living in an area affected by conflict is estimated to have depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

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