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The Far-Reaching Impact of Global Conflict on Mental Health

November 10, 2023 by Wes Kilgore, Well Beings

Global conflicts, such as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Russian-Ukrainian war, have far-reaching impacts that extend beyond the immediate areas of engagement. These conflicts can affect not only those directly involved but also individuals worldwide, regardless of their direct connection to the events.

In areas like Gaza and Ukraine, conflict has led to significant psychological distress among residents. Human Rights Watch reports that violence related to conflict can result in depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)​​. In such environments, access to mental health services is often limited, exacerbating the situation for those in need.

Impact on Displaced Individuals

For refugees and those displaced by conflict, the mental health implications are profound. The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) emphasizes that the psychological stress of forced displacement, coupled with the atrocities experienced prior to flight, significantly affects mental health. These individuals often face additional challenges in host countries, including navigating unfamiliar asylum systems and coping with stress and hardship​​.

Global Impact

The psychological impact of global conflicts extends beyond the conflict zones. Mental Health America highlights that people across the world may struggle with their mental health due to these conflicts, irrespective of their proximity to or direct involvement in the events. This is particularly true for individuals with family in conflict zones, or those exposed to graphic images and news coverage​​.

Emotional Responses

Common emotional responses to global conflict include grief, depression, sadness, fear, anxiety, anger, and guilt. These emotions arise not just from direct exposure to conflict but also from the helplessness and frustration experienced by observers worldwide​​.

Coping Mechanisms

To cope with the distress caused by global conflicts, Mental Health America suggests connecting with loved ones, employing personal coping techniques, and being mindful of trauma triggers. For those in or near conflict zones, ensuring physical safety and preparing for emergencies is crucial​.

News About Current Global Conflicts

There are many reputable nonprofit organizations and governmental sources that provide information and support charitable efforts to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Palestine and Israeli:

Nonprofit Organizations and Governmental Resources

  1. Direct Relief: This organization has committed funds to the Ashkelon Foundation in southern Israel, supporting the Barzilai Medical Center and other health-focused nonprofits in Israel.
  2. Charity Navigator: They list highly rated charities involved in humanitarian relief, recovery, and peace-building efforts in Israel and Gaza.
  3. ALLMEP (Alliance for Middle East Peace): A coalition of over 170 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including thousands of Palestinians and Israelis, focused on peacebuilding between Palestinians and Israelis.
  4. Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA): An NGO working on the rights and welfare of children in the Middle East, supporting community projects for Palestinian children and refugees from Syria.
  5. The Parents Circle – Families Forum: This joint Israeli-Palestinian organization includes families who have lost loved ones in the conflict and promotes reconciliation through education, public gatherings, and media participation.
  6. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS): This program by UNHCR focuses on building the capacity of local health staff and communities. It supports the management of mental, neurological, and substance use conditions in health facilities and strives for the integration of MHPSS in medical services for refugees​​
  7. Mental Health America This site provides extensive resources on how global conflicts may affect your mental health, even if you don’t have personal ties to them.
  8. Human Rights Watch emphasizes the need for governments, UN agencies, and humanitarian organizations to invest in psychosocial support for people affected by armed conflicts.
  9. The Global Conflict Tracker by the Council on Foreign Relations: Provides an extensive background on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including historical events like the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, the Arab-Israeli Wars, the Camp David Accords, the Oslo Accords, and the rise of factionalism within Palestinian politics, especially concerning Hamas and Fatah.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict serves as a stark reminder of the extensive psychological impact of global conflicts. It underlines the importance of providing accessible mental health services, both within and outside conflict zones, and highlights the need for community-based, rights-respecting services that cater to the diverse needs of affected populations. As global citizens, recognizing and addressing the widespread mental health implications of such conflicts is imperative for fostering resilience and healing in a world often marred by violence and unrest.

Related Videos is a mental health resource, not a crisis or suicide response website. If you are in crisis, or experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. The service is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.