This book addresses mental health problems in populations in nonwestern war-affected regions, and methods to mitigate these
problems through interventions focusing on social reintegration. It describes a number of studies among war-affected populations
in widely different areas: refugees from the Rwandan genocide living in refugee camps in Tanzania, the population of a province
in Afghanistan, and inhabitants of a northern district of Rwanda, respectively.
Like in other postconflict regions, mental health problems appeared to be highly prevalent in the populations studied. Therefore,
mental health care should be an integral part of any emergency response and health care in postconflict regions.
Only recently has the insight been developed that humanitarian aid adopts a public-health approach and be community-based
rather than focus on specific trauma complaints through specialized care. This constitutes a marked change in the thinking
about care to populations affected by war and oppression.
The research findings presented in this book corroborate these insights. In addition, these studies constitute a major contribution
to the evolvement of an effective psychosocial support program based on these premises. The second intervention program described
here primarily aims at social reintegration and bonding. It has been running in Rwanda from 2006 onwards, and has reached
thousands of beneficiaries. It appears to positively affect both social bonding and mental health.
The studies in this book provide us with important new insights, indicating a new direction for future community-based psychosocial
intervention programs for populations living in war-affected regions.
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