Mental illness is the most common non-communicable disease in the world, affecting 450 million people, yet it goes largely ignored and untreated as it quietly drains the strength from communities. In emergencies, the problem is greater still as the percentage of the population suffering severe mental disorders rises and those with pre-existing mental illnesses are exposed to new levels of stress.
As part of our holistic approach to health care International Medical Corps prioritises mental health needs in emergencies and integrates mental health into its community-based primary health care, providing specialised training, support and supervision to front-line practitioners and coordinating with local authorities.
International Medical Corps works with community leaders to understand cultural expressions of mental distress, and to establish mental health referral clinics attached to primary health care centres. International Medical Corps also works to de-stigmatise mental illness through community education and awareness programmes.
As one of the few international relief organisations to make mental health care a priority, even during emergencies, International Medical Corps has the capacity to address the immediate psychosocial needs of communities struck by disaster as well as identify and treat those with pre-existing mental health disorders.