Mental health and resilience for children and youth in humanitarian settings

October 10th, 2021

More than 33 million children worldwide had been forcibly displaced by the end of last year. Some 11.8 million children are refugees, while 1.3 million children are seeking asylum and 20.4 million are displaced within their own country by violence and conflict (UNICEF).

Children and youth among displaced populations live in constant uncertainty and are exposed to many threats in some of the most vulnerable situations. Many suffer the trauma of leaving their home and are often exposed to violence, conflict, natural disasters and loss of loved ones. They are at profound risk of developing mental health disorders, including substance and drug use disorders.

Safeguarding the healthy and safe development of children in humanitarian settings and at times of crisis calls for versatile actions. That is why the UNODC Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section has piloted tools to work with parents and families in humanitarian settings that aim at strengthening and improving the mental health of children, youth and their families. PTRS has worked with Afghani refugees both in Afghanistan and in Serbia, with Syrian refugees in Lebanon, as well as with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh through UNHCR funding. These tools have been found to be effective in promoting the mental health of children and youth while preventing youth violence, child maltreatment, as well as drug use and other risky behaviours. Learn more following the links.