Global Health Centre

No Peace of Mind: Mental Health Under Military Occupation and War

International Geneva Global Health Platform
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Online panel discussion

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Webinar | No Peace of Mind: Mental Health Under Military Occupation and War


Besides the physical risks of death and injury, life under military occupation and war is often associated with mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Populations living in occupied territories and conflict zones often experience severe restrictions on their movements, lack of autonomy, and constant surveillance. For example, although despair, depression and severe behavioral issues were already reported amongst the population living in the occupied Palestinian territory, the recent Israel-Hamas conflict has wreaked havoc on the physical and mental health of adults and children in the territory. Trauma and PTSD have been on the rise in Ukraine throughout the war, specifically amongst people in occupied regions such as Donetsk. Deteriorating mental health in militarised territories is not exclusive to recent conflicts. The low-intensity but protracted military operations in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir over more than three decades have contributed to the prevalence of depression in the region. 

Conflict-affected areas are also often characterised by insufficient resources for mental health. Humanitarian agencies struggle to provide even minimal levels of mental healthcare for populations in conflict zones. As violence intensifies and is prolonged, mental health comes to be characterised as a low-level priority or even as a luxury. 

This event aims to bring together experts to discuss different aspects of mental health crises and care, drawing on recent and ongoing cases, addressing questions such as:

  • What kinds of mental health challenges are prevalent in areas under military occupation or experiencing armed conflict? Which age and gender groups are more affected? 
  • What are the main obstacles to providing mental health care in such contexts? 



Opening Remarks by Mariana Duarte | Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Advisor, Médecins Sans Frontières, France

  • occupied Palestinian territory: Mohammad Marie | Mental Health Consultant, Assistant Professor, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Annajah National University, Nablus, West Bank, Palestine
  • Jammu and Kashmir: Saiba Varma | Associate Professor of Psychological/Medical Anthropology, Affiliate Faculty in Global Health and Science Studies programs, University of California, San Diego 
  • Ukraine: Dmytro Martsenkovskyi | Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Bohomolets National Medical University, Kyiv, Ukraine

Moderated by Edna Fernandes | Co-Founder, Beyond Conflict: The mental health charity for conflict zones; Author, Journalist.

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Organised by

International Geneva Global Health Platform and Beyond Conflict.



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