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Is promoting war trauma such a good idea?

Torre, Costanza, Mylan, Sophie, Allen, Tim and Parker, Melissa (2019) Is promoting war trauma such a good idea? Anthropology Today, 35 (6). 3 - 6. ISSN 1467-8322

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-8322.12538


A well-known medical journal, The Lancet, recently published an important systematic review and meta-analysis of mental disorder estimates in conflict settings, advocating for the scaling up of mental health interventions in such contexts. However, there is an assumption that the introduction of such treatments has no significant impact, except from a therapeutic one, in the settings they have been imported to. The authors' research in post-conflict northern Uganda analyzed the social impact of mental health interventions addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and showed that promoting trauma has had considerable socio-economic ramifications on the wider society. The introduction of trauma narratives has created a market where some are able to thrive, but many deeply troubled individuals remain invisible. The authors found no social benefits from promoting trauma, and few positive effects for individuals. Arguments for urgently upscaling mental health interventions of the kinds highlighted by the review in The Lancet, and which the authors have observed on the ground, should be treated with caution.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2019 10:06
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:59

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