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COMMENTARY
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 149-154

Mental Health Interventions in Complex Political Contexts


Graduate School of Psychology and Counseling, Cambridge College, Boston, MA, USA

Correspondence Address:
PhD Elena Cherepanov
Graduate School of Psychology and Counseling, Cambridge College, Boston, MA
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/intv.intv_14_21

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Global mental health specialists provide mental health (MH) services worldwide in various settings with complex humanitarian needs. Tailoring MH interventions and psychosocial support to the context and culture is essential for ensuring safe and competent services. A complex political context (CPC) is characterised by complex political dynamics, social instability and political violence resulting in gross violation of human rights and massive trauma. Examples of such settings include dictatorships, military junta and other forms of government-sponsored, sectarian or ethnic violence towards marginalised groups who are targeted, oppressed and discriminated. In some countries, receiving MH services can expose beneficiaries and put them at risk. Scaling up MH support is needed when serving persons with special needs and those at particular risk for discrimination and victimisation. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has worsened the situation and been used by unscrupulous politicians to tighten governmental control, blame already marginalised groups and deny or further limit their access to resources and health care. These guidelines aim to equip MH workers with an understanding of the professional challenges and ethical dilemmas posed by CPCs. They offer recommendations for programming and delivering MH services in CPC. Providing MH interventions in a CPC calls for special professional expertise, extensive use of supervision and peer support, and personal competencies such as self-awareness and self-care.


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