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.  
 

14/08/2019

Childhood in conflict – children in displaced camps in need of immediate protection

Along with water, shelter, food and healthcare, protection is a basic need for displaced people - especially children who have lived most of their lives in the protracted conflict

Twenty-year-old Mamma Mohammed was threatened, locked up and forced into marriage by members of an armed group. Pregnant, she finally escaped to the town of Pulka, in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state, where she is staying in a camp for displaced people.
05/08/2019

"Pulka is my new home"

Twenty-year-old Mamma Mohammed was threatened, locked up and forced into marriage by members of an armed group. Pregnant, she finally escaped to the town of Pulka, in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state. She is now staying in a camp for displaced people while recovering from her traumatic experiences. Her story.

Local volunteers, health workers and MSF staff members celebrated the opening of mental health activities in West Point, Liberia. [© Clément Lier/MSF]
29/07/2019

Liberia: Providing psychiatric care close to home

In collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Health and other partners, MSF's new program in Liberia now provides outpatient care for about 1,350 people with mental health disorders or epilepsy

Displaced people wait for a distribution of non-food items (NFIs) in Pulka town. [Igor Barbero / MSF ]
23/07/2019

Nigeria: More mental health support needed for people in Pulka

Desperate living conditions and lack of protection in Pulka are exacerbating people’s acute mental health needs. There is an urgent need for reinforcement of the humanitarian response in Pulka.

09/05/2019

More than medicine: a look at mental health needs in detention

MSF nurse activity manager describes the challenges of providing support to people in Libyan detention centres. 

20/03/2019

Libya: alarming rates of malnutrition and inhumane conditions in Tripoli detention centre

A nutritional survey from MSF shows that 25% of people in a Libyan detention centre are malnourished or underweight, with children and young people more likely to be affected

25/02/2019

South Sudan: “It is very gratifying to see former child soldiers being integrated back into their communities”

Former child soldiers from the armed conflict in South Sudan are being helped to reintegrate into society by a team from Médecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Mental health activity manager Silvia Márquez describes the project, which is a first for MSF.

 

01/02/2019

Bangladesh: we provided one million consultations. This is what we found.

MSF medical coordinator Jessica Patti describes what our teams found and where we plan to focus our efforts next

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.