Addressing the Needs of Pakistan's Internally Displaced

About Solution

While most of the global focus on refugee health has been around the area of food delivery, sanitation, and basic health services, the mental health of the refugees is a focus area that’s rarely been considered. Many organizations believe that for a refugee or internally displaced person, the priority should be access to food, clean water, shelter, and basic education. Unfortunately, what’s not being realized is that the psychological toll and trauma of being a refugee has been shown to be even more severe than the trauma of war. Through this proposal, we here provide a solution to addressing the mental health needs of the internally displaced populations in Pakistan, with a focus on the mental health of women and children, in a geographical location that has been severely affected. Pakistan has been a host to millions of refugees from Afghanistan since the 1980s. Furthermore, through a series of man-made (terrorism) and natural (earthquakes and floods) disasters, millions of people have had to be internally displaced and live as refugees in their own country. While many of these people have been repatriated, with access to basic life needs, the mental health needs of these people have never been considered. We aim to combine our expertise in psychiatric epidemiology, traumatic stress, and psychosocial support with the already existing infrastructure of lady health workers (LHWs) and provide an innovative way to address the needs of these affected people. In doing so, we will provide a model for replication in similar national and international settings, where the LHWs could be trained to provide psychosocial support in a brief and emergency-responsive way.



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