Iraq Mental Health Program
The traumas of the Iran-Iraq War, Operation Desert Storm, the ensuing international embargo, and Operation Iraqi Freedom have led to the dangerous combination of both increased conflict-related mental disorders such as post-traumatic syndrome and depression in vulnerable populations and decreased availability and accessibility of mental health and psycho-social support services.
IRD, with funding from the U.S. State Department, is supporting reconciliation and conflict mitigation efforts, helping build national unity, and strengthening the foundation of development initiatives by improving the mental health of Iraqis across geographic and sectarian boundaries. The $3 million Iraqi Mental Health Program will work with trauma and other conflict-affected victims, including female self-immolation victims, drug users, children, internally displaced people, in six of Iraq’s Governorates— Baghdad, Bassra, Dohuk, Erbil, Ninewa, and Suleymaniya.
The goals of the program are to:
- To increase the capacity of Iraqi service providers to meet the mental health and psycho-social needs of conflict victims;
- To improve the quality of mental health and psycho-social service provision;
- To reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness by implementing a national level advocacy and information campaign; and
- To increase access of vulnerable populations to mental health services.
Activities will include service provider training, media, advocacy, and mobile unit service delivery, and will be implemented with and through local partners such as The American Islamic Congress, Erbil Emergency Hospital and Burn Unit, Childhood Care and Sponsorship Organization, Psycho-Social, Education, Treatment and Consulting Center, Kurdistan Institute for Political Issues, and Heartland.
The program will run through the end of January 2010.