Building an evidence base on mental health interventions for children affected by armed conflict

This paper reviews what is currently known from research about the effectiveness of interventions to address mental health problems in children and adolescents affected by armed conflict. The focus will be on interventions delivered in conflict affected countries either during active humanitarian emergencies or during the post conflict period. The paper will discuss two main paradigms of intervention dominating the field: psychosocial approaches and clinical/psychiatric approaches. The paper reviews some of the basic literature, theories and issues involved in assessment, programme planning, monitoring and evaluation of both approaches. In order to explore these issues in depth, the paper will draw from the author's field experiences with research in the Russian Federation and in northern Uganda. The paper also presents a brief review of a handful of other published evaluations of mental health interventions for war affected children. We will close with a discussion of what future research is needed to build an evidence base regarding mental health interventions for children affected by armed conflict as well as the ethical and feasibility issues associated with carrying out this work.

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Betancourt, Theresa S; Williams, Timothy