Advocacy for mental health

War Trauma Foundation is increasingly active in promoting the need to improve mental health care in humanitarian emergencies. The High Level Summit on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings – which the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is hosting in Amsterdam in October – is already generating extra attention for the topic.

War Trauma co-organised part of the one-day conference on Psycho Social Support in the Middle East on June 6. War Trauma had invited Dr. Bayan Rasul of the Emma Organisation from the Kurdish region in Iraq to present and discuss her experiences with the treatment of Yezidi women and girls. Emma is supporting 600 Yezidi women who were captured by IS insurgents. Many of these women were victims of conflict related sexual violence. The report of the conference you can find here (English only)

Earlier this year War Trauma was the host of a meeting of the CRSV Network, which focuses on Conflict Related sexual Violence. Based on our experience supporting the mental health care and psychosocial support offered to survivors of sexual violence at the Emma Organisation in Kurdistan and Panzi Hospital in DRCongo, we provide specific insights to the network. Network organisations also indicated how lawyers providing legal support to survivors of sexual violence are struggling with their own mental health.

Ahead of the High Level Summit – which will mainly be for ministers and government experts – War Trauma will host the Inter Agency Standing Committee on MHPSS (IASC). The aim of the IASC is to advocate for the implementation of the IASC Guidelines for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC, 2007). During the meeting the IASC members will discuss what countries can do more to improve the mental health care response in cases of humanitarian emergencies.