“Conflicts in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria, and South Sudan and the covid-19 pandemic will not be our last emergencies. It is essential that we use the best evidence to build families’ resilience to both sudden and protracted crises.”
In light of the Ukrainian refugee crisis, 4.8 million (out of 7.5 million) children have been displaced, with 2 million having crossed the border fleeing the war zone. The conflict and displacement further exacerbated the adverse mental health and well-being of children and their caregivers, already negatively affected by the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.
In all settings, and especially in the context of war, caregivers can be a ‘protective shield’ around their children or can further complicate war stress. The quality of family interaction is predictive of children’s adjustment in conflict settings, however family skills engagement is significantly affected in such contexts and requires advanced skills and knowledge.
This signals the call for engagement with families for mental health support and to create a safe environment, which allows and enhances the healthy development of children in such contexts.
To support families through crises and emergencies, the UNODC has worked on developing and providing diverse packages of assistance that promote strong relationships within families and good mental health for both children and caregivers as a preventive strategy.
This call for engagement requires strong advocacy to place such packages of human and social development front and center in the response. Such advocacy has been at the core of UNODC’s Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section (PTRS) operational work, including through its engagement with other implicated UN agencies and academic institutions.
To that effect, UNODC has published two opinion articles in high caliber journals reflecting the availability, feasibility and effectiveness of such models of intervention to support children and their families through crises, emergencies and armed conflicts, particularly in the context of Ukraine. Such models are adapted to the intensity of the humanitarian aspect of the settings as well as the breadth of reach of target populations at risk.
To read the opinion pieces, see the links below: