Since the deathly World Wars, the United Nations and accompanying organizations have worked to prevent such tragedies from happening again. However, when the end to bloodshed finally comes, there is more damage done to a nation than just its government and military force.
The Worst Kind of Damage
When a war takes place, innocent civilians of a country often find themselves mentally disturbed, with many unable to return to their original state of being. Combat stress reaction often brings about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder caused after experiencing traumatic events.
The mental damage continues on even after the cries of war dissolve, with many veteran soldiers experiencing depression, anxiety, and even relationship issues. In 2009, the New York Times reported that 129 American soldiers had committed suicide in only the first half of the year.
After World War I first brought combat stress to light, organizations dedicated to healing the trauma such as the Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society have been founded. The World Health Organization (WHO) also assists returned soldiers affected, as their mental health programme states that they assist anyone under stress, such as refugees, internally displaced persons, disaster survivors and terrorism, war- or genocide-exposed populations. The Combat Stress organization of the UK currently has over 5,400 veterans as part of its charity, with veterans as young as 18 years old suffering from conflict stress reaction as well.
A Different Kind of Civilian Battle
The civilians of a nation are not exempt from the shock and stress of war either. Families who have lost a loved one due to the violence of war often never recover from the loss and grievance.
Death is not the only aspect of war to break communities apart. For the sake of a civilian’s own safety, many find their status heartbreakingly changing to refugee after fleeing their homes. Ages vary, but the trauma of the past is all the same.
Wars with Nature
Regions of conflict do not only refer to those in battle. Natural disasters are arguably the worst sort of war that a nation could go through, as there is often no way to predict when, where, or how one will strike. The 2011 Japan Earthquake had resulted in over 158 children missing, and 236 being orphaned.
The Goal of THIMUN
THIMUN Qatar General Assembly 3 Student Officer, Zohaq Syed, shared his thoughts on improving mental health support in regions of conflict. “No matter what the difficulties, humans should be treated with equal respect,” he stated. “Everyone in need requires assistance.” It is hoped that a resolution on the importance of the issue will be reached during this week’s three-day conference.
While attention over the years has been given to the ‘second kind’ of damage caused by war, it is still hoped that not just peace of war, but peace of mind will be achieved.
By Sara Sarwar
Photo By Aya Ibrahim