Severe mental disorders in complex emergencies

People with severe mental disorders are a neglected and vulnerable group in complex emergencies. Here, we describe field experiences in establishing mental health services in five humanitarian settings. We show data to quantify the issue, and suggest reasons for this neglect. We then outline the actions needed to establish services in these settings, including the provision of practical training, medication, psychosocial supports, and, when appropriate, work with traditional healers. We have identified some persisting problems locally, nationally, and internationally, and suggest some solutions. Protection and care of people with severe mental disorders in complex emergencies is a humanitarian responsibility.

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