“Given the large numbers of people in need and the humanitarian imperative to reduce suffering, there is an urgent need to implement scalable mental health interventions to address this burden,” the research team said. Mark van Ommeren, a mental health specialist at the WHO who worked on the team, said the findings “add yet more weight to the argument for immediate and sustained investment so that mental and psychosocial support is made available to all people in need living through conflict and its aftermath”. In 2016, the number of ongoing armed conflicts reached an all-time high of 53 in 37 countries and 12 percent of the world’s people are living in an active war zone, according to United Nations figures. The WHO’s conflict mental health study, published in The Lancet medical journal, was carried out by a team of researchers from the WHO, Australia’s Queensland University, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and Harvard University in the United States. Around 4 percent of people living amid armed conflict had moderate mental health illness, and for severe conditions, the prevalence was 5 percent.
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