The populations that MedGlobal serves have experienced severe stressors, such as war, displacement, violence, poverty, illness, and loss of loved ones. These stressors can lead to psychosocial disabilities and mental health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the rate of mental health conditions amongst people living in conflict areas is double that of the general population. They estimate that 22% of people living in conflict areas suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
People who survive conflict or disasters are more likely to suffer from psychosocial disabilities or mental health conditions, and experiencing these emergencies may exacerbate the health of those who have pre-existing conditions. Yet, unfortunately, mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS) are less prevalent and less accessible in conflict and disaster settings, which are the areas where MedGlobal works.
MedGlobal’s MHPSS services provide a lifeline for some of the world’s most vulnerable communities such as refugees and other displaced people, victims of war, and people affected by climate change. For example, MedGlobal supports the only mental health hospital in north Aleppo, which provides mental health services for over 500 beneficiaries monthly. MedGlobal is also operating the only rehabilitation center for substance users in northwest Syria. In Lebanon, MedGlobal is operating a mobile mental health unit, which is providing free MHPSS services to nine areas of the country. The unit is also providing referrals to local primary healthcare centers for patients needing long-term care.
We also strive to provide comprehensive patient care by integrating MHPSS services with our other health services. For example, as part of our COVID-19 responses in Bangladesh and Ecuador, MedGlobal trained local healthcare providers on psychosocial first aid (PSA) for their patients. This skill allows providers to identify and support patients suffering from anxiety in their day-to-day clinical work.
Alongside our private and dignified MHPSS services, MedGlobal promotes the protection of individuals suffering from psychosocial disabilities and mental health conditions. These individuals comprise a vulnerable group, and special consideration is required to ensure their health and wellbeing by improving their access to healthcare, protection, and other services and by reducing stigma through global advocacy and local community education.