Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Medical group says mental health issues in South American nation remain largely invisible

In the South American nation of Colombia, decades of bloodshed between D the government, leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups have left untold psychological scars on the survivors. The conflict killed at least 100,000 people and forced about five million Colombians to flee their homes. The Doctors Without Borders group says that the trauma inflicted on survivors here has remained a largely unseen, psychological problem.

Under Colombia's laws and constitution, mental health care is seen as a basic right, which means the government should provide it to all citizens when necessary. For those living in conflict-ridden regions, mostly around the nation's southern provinces, people have little or no access to mental health services.

Under Colombia's laws and constitution, mental health care is seen as a basic right, which means the government should provide it to all citizens when necessary. For those living in conflict-ridden regions, mostly around the nation's southern provinces, people have little or no access to mental health services.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Colombia, trauma, conflict, murder, torture, psychological problems, mental health


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - There are the expected signs of stress among the very young. Children have recurring nightmares and wet their beds, while their parents suffer depression, anxiety and panic disorders.

Doctors Without Borders, or MSF says that the impact of the conflict on people's mental health is a problem that is largely invisible and unaccounted for.

"Despite the profound impact that violence has on Colombia's population, mental health continues to be a little known issue. People suffer alone, in silence and are often ignored," Javier Llorca, head of MSF in Colombia, told a press conference in Bogota.

Based upon 4,455 patient consultations with MSF psychologists in four provinces in southern Colombia, the report found that nearly 70 percent of those patients surveyed had directly experienced one or more types of violence, making them more vulnerable to mental illness. Witness to sexual violence and rape - both at the hands of relatives and by armed groups; survivors weathered killings or lost family members who disappeared or were murdered. Others were forcibly displaced, taken hostage or caught in crossfire between warring factions.

A survivor who has been exposed to such trauma is 4.3 times more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder than someone who has not endured such violence, MSF said in its report.

One harrowing example was an unnamed woman who witnessed the killing of her neighbors by an armed group, forcing her and her family to leave their home.

"I have dreams where I see the heads of my neighbors. I see them crying, begging for mercy. I wake up crying," the 50-year-old woman is quoted as saying in the report.

"I've never seen my husband so quiet. I've never seen him cry in silence. I have to say that my son is not the boy he once was. Now in his eyes there's no sweetness but anger and hate. I don't know what will become of us. Our lives won't be the same because we've been displaced."

A third of the survivors, 1,410 people said they had been victims of domestic violence, the most common type of violence cited.

"There is academic research that shows domestic violence increases in the context of armed conflicts," Cristina Carreno, a psychiatrist and head of MSF's mental health program in Colombia said.

Under Colombia's laws and constitution, mental health care is seen as a basic right, which means the government should provide it to all citizens when necessary. For those living in conflict-ridden regions, mostly around the nation's southern provinces, people have little or no access to mental health services, MSF says.

"There are gaps in Colombia's mental health laws, a lack of psychologists in rural areas and obstacles in accessing mental health services, particularly in areas where there's no state presence. The response of health authorities to mental health disorders is in general limited and inadequate," MSF's Llorca said.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Americas

'I am ready to die, 'Honduran priest says of his human rights' work Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Keenly aware of the fate of his predecessor, radio marketing director Carlos Mejia Orellana stabbing death, Father Ismael Moreno says his human rights work in Honduras will continue - unabated. With Orellana's murder still unsolved seven months later, Father ... continue reading


43 Mexican students BURNED ALIVE over fears they would interrupt speech Watch

Image of The 43 students had been missing since they disappeared near the southern city of Iguala on September 26 after being attacked by police.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In dry, unemotional voices, three cartel hit men reenacted the horrific massacre of 43 Mexican students for investigators. Using twigs and trash bags, the killers told investigators how they layered the victims "like a grill" before bathing them in gasoline and ... continue reading


Illegal abortions fifth leading cause of maternal deaths in Brazil Watch

Image of An independent study by the Social Medicine Institute at Rio de Janeiro's State University showed that 155,000 women were admitted to public hospitals suffering from complications from self-induced abortions in 2013.

By Adriana Brasileiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation

On Aug. 26, Jandira Magdalena dos Santos Cruz, 27, got into a white car at a bus station in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. She was supposed to be taken to a clandestine abortion clinic to terminate a 16-week pregnancy. She never came home. RIO DE JANEIRO ... continue reading


If you think ISIS is bad, just look at what's going on in Mexico Watch

Image of Those who speak out against the Mexican drug cartels often find themselves attacked, abused, or even murdered.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the world-and especially the United States-remains fixated on the brutal actions and conquests of the Islamic State, few are looking closer to home to see such brutality, sometimes on a larger and more horrifying scale. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Worst drought in years: São Paulo may run out of water by next month Watch

Image of One of the causes of the Brazilian drought crisis may be more than 2,000 kilometers away, in the growing deforested areas in the Amazon region.

By Adriana Brasileiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation

South America's biggest and wealthiest city may run out of water by mid-November if it doesn't rain soon. SAO PAULO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - São Paulo, a Brazilian megacity of 20 million people, is suffering its worst drought in at least 80 years, with key ... continue reading


In narrow election, Brazil reelects leftists president Watch

Image of Rousseff had 51.6% of the vote in the run-off election, while her opponent, the center-right Aecio Neves only had 48.4%.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's leftist president, was re-elected on October 26, after one of Brazil's closest election races since it become a democracy about 30 years ago. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rousseff had 51.6% of the vote in the run-off election, while ... continue reading


Ottawa terrorist attack: Lone gunman planned to fight overseas for Islamic State Watch

Image of Corporal Nathan Cirillo was

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Details are beginning to emerge in a terrorist attack in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. Corporal Nathan Cirillo was "murdered in cold blood" as he stood guard at Canada's National War Memorial. The suspected gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was later shot and ... continue reading


BREAKING: Shots fired in Canadian capital, soldier killed by gunman at war memorial Watch

Image of Armed members of Canada's Royal Mounted Police are searching for an unknown number of shooters in Ottawa, Canada's capital.

By Robert Mullen (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There have been multiple gunmen and gunshots in Canada's capital of Ottawa, and at least one Canadian service man was shot in what may be-but is unconfirmed-a terrorist attack. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The shootings occurred just before 10 a.m. ET on ... continue reading


Bermuda buttons down for Hurricane Gonzalo Watch

Image of Bermuda is getting ready to get hit by Hurricane Gonzalo, which is expected to have winds up to 145 miles per hour.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bermuda is set to be hit by a strong storm on October 17, Hurricane Gonzalo, one of the most powerful on record to hit the island. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Schools on the island were closed on October 16, and many residents boarded up the windows of their ... continue reading


Sex trafficking ring that used teenaged girls, boys busted in Colombia Watch

Image of Working out of clandestine sites and massage parlors, the ring frequently used taxi drivers to bring in foreign clients looking for underage sex.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After a lengthy investigation, a joint operation between the United States and Colombia successfully led to 11 arrests across the South American nation in a large sex trafficking ring. The ring used teenaged girls and boys, one victim as young as 11 and kept ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 14:14-19
14 Now in my vision I saw a white cloud and, sitting ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:10, 11-12, 13
10 Say among the nations, 'Yahweh is king.' The world ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:5-11
5 When some were talking about the Temple, remarking ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 25th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine of Alexandria
November 25: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr whose feast day ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter