Mental disorders are rarely seen as a priority when it comes to health in fragile states. However, like many other non-communicable or chronic diseases, they combine high prevalence with low mortality and are characterized by a high degree of ‘disability’. The concept of Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) was introduced to measure this burden of disease. DALYs indicate the numbers of years of healthy life lost due to a disorder, by premature death or years lived with disability.
The World Bank and WHO indicated in 2001 that 12% of the global burden of disease should be attributed to mental problems. This percentage is expected to increase significantly in the next decade, also in developing countries. On a global scale depressive disorders causes health consequences that are equal to that of heart diseases. Disability related to mental disorders has negative effects on productivity and financial consequences for the individual and their family. When the context is a fragile state, a war-torn society, one does not really need high-level epidemiology to understand that psychological problems are not only important as determinants of health, but also as barriers to rebuild both individual and family life, as well as rebuilding communities and society as a whole.
Although most of our programmes address mental health as well as psychosocial problems in a combined approach, there is a difference to be made between the two:
In addition to the various programmes, we are also actively involved in the scientific journal “Intervention”. With (financial) support of Cordaid and HealthNet TPO, the War Trauma Foundation publishes "Intervention, the International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counseling in Areas of Armed Conflict". Chief editor is Peter Ventevogel, technical advisor with HealthNet TPO.