Peacework and mental health : from individual pathology to community responsibility

Using Canada and Ukraine as examples, this article asserts the importance of moving beyond addressing posttraumatic stress disorder as the major mental health focus in peacebuilding, to a more global whole health strategy as a way of building resilience in communities, preparing them better to deal with conflicts of different kinds, and generally providing habitus for people of all health and abilities to thrive. Authors who are academics, mental health service users and service providers examine current barriers to and movements toward mental health and wellness in their countries. Using a needs-based approach, authors assert the importance of using the social determinants of health, understanding engaged community membership requires good, supportive mental health. The social determinants of health provide the basis to move from a reactive medical model of health which seems prevelant globally to focus on proactive community, considering what it means to be a community member, including the importance of individual empowerment not only for their own community engagement but also for the actualization and development of their communities and the wider world.

Key implications for practice

  • It is important to move beyond treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in response to trauma.
  • Peacebuilding must include proactive mental health strategies.
  • Global responsibility for individual health as described by the social determinants of health.
Maureen P. Flaherty, Ellen Sikorski, Liliya Klos, Viktor Vus & Nina Hayduk | 2020
In: Intervention, the Journal of Mental Health & Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas ; ISSN : 1571-8883 | 18 | 1 | January-June | 28-36
Open Access
Mental health, Peacekeeping Personnel, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD (en)