Emotional problems of children living in war zones not recognised

ildrens emotional problems can be detected early by professionals and volunteers working in health care, and relief operations and education, rather than by specialists in mental health. Training of such agencies should include ways of communicating with children and basic aspects of child mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Systematic interventions through educational programmes or brief psychological techniques need development and assessment coordinated by international organisations, such as WHO or UNICEF."

In an accompanying Commentary (p 1790), Joop de Jong and Ivan Komproe from Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands, discuss a public mental-health approach to support people with emotional disturbance in war zones. They conclude: "In a few years, a programme can train hundreds of professionals and para-professionals and thousands of community leaders in tailored training programmes. Such large-scale building of a human-resource capacity allows the community to restore the social fabric that is disrupted or destroyed by the ongoing cycles of violence in many parts of the world."


Contact: Richard Lane

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