SEED’s mental health advisor, Anne Lepelaars, spoke to Julie Meier to help frame her research for the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, about the challenges to providing mental health and psychosocial support services in Iraq. 

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Iraq: Challenges and Solutions

Julie Meier | July 27, 2020 | Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 

Worldwide, millions of people survive severely distressing experiences caused by war and conflict, humanitarian disasters, and displacement. While such events affect the mental health of any population, the psychosocial well-being of persons in humanitarian contexts are rarely addressed in research. In Iraq, sustained and accelerated trauma is a reality, as the local population has endured years of prolonged violence and persecution. Iraq has undergone almost forty years of conflict, including authoritarianism, an eight-year Iran-Iraq war, two Gulf Wars, decades of economic sanctions, a civil war, and the recent occupation by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).