Invisible Wounds of War October 2019

The 24 million children living in conflict areas are facing a mental health crisis, yet only a minuscule share of development funding is allocated for programming to support their recovery. The fear, anxiety, and trauma of conflict has a severe effect on the psychological well-being of children. Prolonged exposure, especially when left untreated, can affect the child's brain development, behavior, and overall well-being. Urgent commitment from the international community is needed to remedy these effects. Continuing our centenary campaign to #STOPTHEWARONCHILDREN, this month's spotlight highlights the invisible wounds of war.

Children need to feel safe, loved, and to have their basic needs met in order to be healthy. In the chaos of war, the cornerstones of a child's well-being are often uprooted entirely. Living with the stress of bombardments, airstrikes, and gunfire causes great fear and uncertainty. Furthermore, any potential separation from their families or caretakers causes grief and exasperates the feeling of insecurity. Even when the child manages to survive the devastation of war, they are left with trauma and toxic stress that can have an adverse effect on their brain development and their overall sense of well-being.

A new analysis by Save the Children estimates that approximately 24 million children are living with high levels of stress and potential mental disorders. Another 7 million children are living with severe mental health disorders. Yet, mental health and psychosocial support services only accounted for 0.14% of global development aid funding between 2015-2017. To avoid a mental health epidemic, the international community must systematically step up the support allocated towards children's psychological recovery. Learn more within the report below.

From the library:

Road to Recovery: Responding to children's mental health in conflict

The briefing paper sets out the scale of mental health effects on children living in conflict zones and the role of education in responding to them.

As we enter our 100th year, we re-commit ourselves to our founding mission: to hold ourselves, as well as others, to protect children in conflict. The time to act is now.