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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.  
 

Mental health consultation in the MSF hospital in Nduta refugee camp, Tanzania. [© MSF/Pierre-Yves Bernard]
22/01/2019

Displaced and distressed: the case of mental health in East Africa

With the exception of Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya, nearly all MSF mental health programmes in the East and Horn region have seen a significant increase of patients.

10/10/2018

Mental health in Africa: Why it matters for young people

On World Mental Health Day MSF is shining a spotlight on the need for more mental health service across the continent, particularly for young children and adolescents 
 

17/05/2018

North Darfur: Only distant dreams of returning home for people in Sortoni camp

MSF Head of Mission, Elmounzer Ag Jiddou, explains life in the camp, which is home to more than 23,000 people 

08/01/2017

Sandra Githaiga

A Kenyan psychologist led a team of MSF counsellors treating rape survivors in slums in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

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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.