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Healing the Wounds of Conflict:Need for School Mental Health Programs for Children Affected by Armed Conflict in Kashmir


Affiliations
1 Department of Psychiatric Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
     

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More than one billion children live in countries affected by prolonged armed conflict. Most of these conflicts occur in lower and middle income countries which are home to 90% of the world's population of children and adolescents. The exposure to violence in children results in ontogenesis of psychological distress in the form of depression and anxiety including posttraumatic stress reactions, difficulties with anger management, emotional deregulation, interpersonal deficits, and functional impairment. In Kashmir children have been subjected to exposure from armed conflict repeatedly since last six decades, with no adequate research or interventions. School Mental Health programs promote healthy social, emotional, and behavioral development of children, and offer potential help to reduce the gap between needs and appropriate services for those children who experience or at increased risk for a range of mental health problems. In India there has been some efforts towards execution of mental health programs at school level however, has been reported to lack rigor in objectives, clarity on mechanism of their delivery, evaluation, restricted presence to urban settings and dearth of literature especially research pertaining to implementation of school mental health programs in conflict affected areas. This paper will focus on understanding mental health problems of children affected by armed conflict. It will also review some of the existing research studies about the effectiveness of school mental health programs to address mental health problems of conflict affected children.

Keywords

School Mental Health, Armed Conflict, Children.
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  • Healing the Wounds of Conflict:Need for School Mental Health Programs for Children Affected by Armed Conflict in Kashmir

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Authors

Fahim Ul Hassan
Department of Psychiatric Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Kasi Sekar
Department of Psychiatric Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
E. Aravind Raj
Department of Psychiatric Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Abstract


More than one billion children live in countries affected by prolonged armed conflict. Most of these conflicts occur in lower and middle income countries which are home to 90% of the world's population of children and adolescents. The exposure to violence in children results in ontogenesis of psychological distress in the form of depression and anxiety including posttraumatic stress reactions, difficulties with anger management, emotional deregulation, interpersonal deficits, and functional impairment. In Kashmir children have been subjected to exposure from armed conflict repeatedly since last six decades, with no adequate research or interventions. School Mental Health programs promote healthy social, emotional, and behavioral development of children, and offer potential help to reduce the gap between needs and appropriate services for those children who experience or at increased risk for a range of mental health problems. In India there has been some efforts towards execution of mental health programs at school level however, has been reported to lack rigor in objectives, clarity on mechanism of their delivery, evaluation, restricted presence to urban settings and dearth of literature especially research pertaining to implementation of school mental health programs in conflict affected areas. This paper will focus on understanding mental health problems of children affected by armed conflict. It will also review some of the existing research studies about the effectiveness of school mental health programs to address mental health problems of conflict affected children.

Keywords


School Mental Health, Armed Conflict, Children.