World Health Day 2017

Figures from the World Health Organization suggest that 300 million people are living with depression, making it one of the leading causes of disease and disability around the world.

Mental health problems are on the rise. Depression in particular, now affects more than 300 million people worldwide. During disasters, conflicts and health emergencies, people are at even higher risk of severe mental disorders. Communities witness their protective support structures rapidly break down at the same time as lives and livelihoods are being destroyed. The emotional devastation may not be as visible as the destruction of their homes, but it can take far longer to recover.

According to the World Health Organization, humanitarian emergencies affect an estimated 125 million people of which some 4-6 million suffer from severe mental disorders.

Responding to disasters and humanitarian crises requires more than food, shelter, and first aid.  Mental health services do not exist in many parts of the world, but providing people with early support and coping mechanisms which respect local customs, can allow them to manage better.

Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers provide community-based psychosocial support alongside first aid, food and shelter in an emergency. When people can care for themselves and each other, their self-confidence and resilience improves, promoting recovery and strengthening their ability to deal with future challenges.

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