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One in Five Have Mental Health Issues in Conflict-Affected Areas

Sustainable mental health care needed in conflict-afflicted countries, the authors say

soldiers silhouette at sunset

TUESDAY, June 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The burden of mental disorders is high in conflict-affected areas, according to a review published online June 11 in The Lancet.

In an effort to update the World Health Organization 2005 estimates, Fiona Charlson, Ph.D., from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to estimate the prevalence of mental disorders (depression, anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) in conflict-affected settings.

The researchers found that the prevalence of mental disorders was 22.1 percent at any point in time in the conflict-affected populations assessed. For mild forms of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder, the mean comorbidity-adjusted, age-standardized point prevalence was 13.0 percent, whereas it was 4.0 percent for moderate forms. For severe disorders, the mean comorbidity-adjusted, age-standardized point prevalence was 5.1 percent.

"Given the large numbers of people in need and the humanitarian imperative to reduce suffering, there is an urgent need to implement scalable mental health interventions to address this burden," the authors write.

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