Skip to main content

Newsletter block in header

prev
next

Languages

You are here

Mental Health 

The psychological impact of a humanitarian emergency can be severe, and for people who have lived through these crises, their survival can depend on more than just ensuring physical wellbeing. 
 
Worldwide, around one in four people will suffer from a mental health problem during their lifetime, yet around 60 percent will not seek help.  
 
These figures increase dramatically when factors such as violence, persecution, the need to flee, disasters or a lack of access to healthcare are involved. 
 
For this reason, in 1998 MSF formally recognised the need to provide mental health and psychosocial care as part of our emergency work.  
 
Many patients seen by MSF will have been separated from their families or witnessed the deaths of loved ones. Others may have been forced to flee their homes, searching for shelter, supplies and safety. These events can immobilise people with depression and anxiety at just the time when they need to take action for themselves and their families. 
 
MSF professionals are there to listen and support so that traumatic experiences do not come to define our patients' lives. 
 
In 2017, MSF provided 306,300 individual mental health consultations, and 49,800 group mental health sessions. We also provide support to help our staff deal with the challenging experiences that they might have had during the course of their work, including upon their return home.  
 

01/09/2021

John Mwangi: Drug Abuse, Its effects and the journey to reforming

John Mwangi is a patient at MSF´s Methadone Assisted Therapy (MAT) clinic in Kiambu, set up to reduce harm amongst people who use drugs. Coming to the clinic and getting off heroin has changed his life, allowing him to be welcomed back into his family. In commemoration of the International Overdose Awareness Day, marked annually on August 31st to raise awareness of overdoses, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths and acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends, John shares his story.

13/08/2021

Kyrgyzstan: Four months after clashes, people aspire to normality

Following clashes in April that caused widespread destruction in the border areas of Kyrgyzstan, people are gradually recovering from the initial shock. Marcos Matías Moyano, MSF’s Mental Health Advisor, was in Kyrgyzstan recently to support the organisation’s response and he explains how the clashes have impacted peoples’ lives.

04/08/2021

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is forced to withdraw its teams from Cameroon’s North-West region

Yaoundé, 3 August 2021 – After nearly eight months of suspension by the Cameroonian authorities, medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has been forced to withdraw its teams from the North-West region, an area badly affected by years of armed violence between security forces and armed separatist groups.

15/07/2021

DRC: Voices of Survivors

In 2020, MSF medical and mental health staff assisted 10,810  survivors of sexual violence  in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which means nearly 30 each day. It's an enormous figure which is unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg.

15/07/2021

DRC: Doctors Without Borders calls for urgent boost to support survivors of sexual violence

MSF warns of the lack of support available for survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

15/07/2021

It takes a whole village: the need of a multiple approach to assist survivors of sexual violence

In light of the magnitude and the impact of the sexual violence in the country, MSF calls on the Congolese authorities and their partners to act now, in line with the medical, legal and socioeconomic needs that we observe.

17/06/2021

Central African Republic: Thousands left vulnerable in Bambari after makeshift camp is destroyed and burnt to ground

Bangui, 17 June 2021 – Some 8,500 people have been expelled from their makeshift camp in Bambari, Central African Republic (CAR) after renewed fighting broke out in the region, says international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Several thousand people have sought refuge in the compound of a mosque in Bambari town where they are living in very precarious conditions. The camp was burnt to the ground and an MSF-run health post in the camp was also destroyed.

16/06/2021

Renewed hope: Caring for deported migrants in Ethiopia

Each year, thousands of Ethiopians make the perilous journey to Saudi Arabia or other Gulf countries, with the false hope of finding work for fair pay. Those who make it to Saudia Arabia often face violence and mistreatment. Since 2017, Saudia Arabia has been detaining the undocumented  migrants and deporting them back to their countries of origin. For those returned to Ethiopia, MSF provides emergency care and mental health assistance in Addis Ababa. 

Pages

Mental Health 

The psychological impact of a humanitarian emergency can be severe, and for people who have lived through these crises, their survival can depend on more than just ensuring physical wellbeing. 
 
Worldwide, around one in four people will suffer from a mental health problem during their lifetime, yet around 60 percent will not seek help.  
 
These figures increase dramatically when factors such as violence, persecution, the need to flee, disasters or a lack of access to healthcare are involved. 
 
For this reason, in 1998 MSF formally recognised the need to provide mental health and psychosocial care as part of our emergency work.  
 
Many patients seen by MSF will have been separated from their families or witnessed the deaths of loved ones. Others may have been forced to flee their homes, searching for shelter, supplies and safety. These events can immobilise people with depression and anxiety at just the time when they need to take action for themselves and their families. 
 
MSF professionals are there to listen and support so that traumatic experiences do not come to define our patients' lives. 
 
In 2017, MSF provided 306,300 individual mental health consultations, and 49,800 group mental health sessions. We also provide support to help our staff deal with the challenging experiences that they might have had during the course of their work, including upon their return home.