Iraq and mental health policy: a post invasion analysis

Sharma, S., & Piachaud, J. (2011). Iraq and mental health policy: a post invasion analysis. Intervention, 9(3), 332-344.

The Iraq war, and the subsequent involvement of various stakeholders in the post conflict reconstruction of the health sector, presented an opportunity to learn about mental health policy development, challenges and obstacles within a post conflict context in 2003. This paper documents and explores mental health policy in post invasion Iraq, using qualitative methods and a health policy framework that analyses context, content and process. Findings indicate that there are many challenges, both in repairing an already weakened health sector, and in maintaining mental health as a health priority. In addition to security issues, fragmentation of power, change of leadership and lack of funding pose significant problems. Achievements are evident, though insufficient to address the overall mental health burden. The policy process is examined over a four-year period. Lessons learned are presented as best practice guidelines for post conflict mental health reconstruction.

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