www.psicosocial.net). He has worked extensively with grassroot community organizations in context of war or political violence">
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 195-210

An Intervention Special Issue Integrating mental health care into existing systems of health care: during and after complex humanitarian emergencies

1 psychiatrist and cultural anthropologist. He works with the international NGO HealthNet TPO as mental health advisor, with the international NGO War Trauma Foundation as the editor in chief of Intervention, and with Arq, the Dutch psychotrauma expert group, as a clinical psychiatrist
2 psychiatrist at Hosputal La Paz (Madrid), psychosocial and mental health advidor for Médicos del Mundo – España (Doctors of the World – Spain) and initiator of of the Community Action Group (www.psicosocial.net). He has worked extensively with grassroot community organizations in context of war or political violence
3 psychiatrist. He works as chief of the Department of Psychiatry in University Hospital Príncipe de Asturias, Spain and is an associate professor at the University of Alcalá Alcalá de Henares, Madrid (Spain)
4 psychiatrist and a public health specialist presently working as a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow with Personal Social Services Research Unit, London School of Economics and Political Science, London UK, and Makerere University School of Public Health, Kampala, Uganda., Uganda

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Complex humanitarian emergencies, whether arising from armed conflict or natural disaster, challenge the mental health system of a country in many ways. Not least because they increase the risk of mental disorder in the population, and undermine the pre-existing structures of care. They may, however, also bring new opportunities to create change. In this way, new structures and paradigms may emerge from the midst of a crisis. The probabilities for such a change to occur vary from one setting to another. Regardless, it has been seen that interventions in complex humanitarian emergencies should not be limited to the deployment of specialised resources that will disappear once the emergency has lost its urgency, or visibility. Apart from provision of direct services, interventions in these circumstances should also aim to build local capacity and install sustainable systems of mental health care at the time of the intervention. This paper serves as an introduction to this special issue of ‘Intervention’ and examines the various aspects surrounding integration of mental health care and psychosocial support into overall health systems during, or after, complex humanitarian emergencies.

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