Research Topic

Long Term Impact of War, Civil War and Persecution in Civilian Populations

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About this Research Topic

Violence in the framework of the larger part of the global population affected by war, civil wars and persecution has been demonstrated to be a growing problem in public and especially mental health. The long term psychological impact has recently been neglected due to a present focus on immediate challenges ...

Violence in the framework of the larger part of the global population affected by war, civil wars and persecution has been demonstrated to be a growing problem in public and especially mental health. The long term psychological impact has recently been neglected due to a present focus on immediate challenges in refugees and displaced populations. In contrast, earlier research especially with survivors of the holocaust and the second world war, has confirmed that sequels can and frequently become chronic, are accompanied by physical and neurobiological changes, and can even be transmitted to indirect victims especially in second and third generation family members. A better understanding of challenges and solutions has to be seen as a primary concern for the upcoming decades.

Chronic trauma spectrum and other unspecific disorders can be expected to influence family systems, quality of life, and social functioning. In the large number of war and civil war areas, but also in social environments characterized by pervasive violence and persecution, the problem is enhanced by negative factors including adverse developments in the social, economic and especially health care system. The last includes brain drain, and mental health services that have no capacity and expertise to deal with the wide spread problems, related to earlier and ongoing violence, but might have become generally insufficient as psychiatric services. Special groups including those returning after displacement and family members suffering from war and persecution related social and family conflicts have been demonstrated to face so far neglected long term problems. In contrast, new and innovative models in individual, and community oriented intervention approaches, with a special focus on culture sensitive concepts, have been developed and can offer important options to face the above severe problems.

This Research Topic will focus on the new research on both long term problems and on intervention models related to key issues in global mental health.

We invite submissions that cover the broad spectrum of the long term mental health impact of war, civil war and persecution in individuals, families, communities, trans-generational transmission, and the mental health care system as reflected either in quantitative or qualitative research approaches. This includes also challenges to mental health care systems and service delivery in general including issues like brain drain, stigma, discrimination and the impact of discontinuation of psychiatric services. We further encourage submission of all research on the possible interventions to address this sequels, not limited to individual treatment, but also including community based and transitional justice and reconciliation-based interventions with mental health impact, culture sensitive and MHPSS mental health approaches, and long term follow up studies on such interventions.


Keywords: War, Public Health, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Torture, Persecution


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