Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message to the high‑level event on mental health interventions for peacebuilding in conflict and humanitarian settings, held today:
Vulnerability and mental health problems are part of our collective human experience and should be treated as seriously as physical health issues, including during a global pandemic.
Peacebuilding, mental health and psychosocial support are deeply interconnected. People who have suffered losses, attacks, family separations and gender-based violence carry grievances and wounds that can perpetuate repetition and cycles of violence. Mental health and psychosocial support must be seen as integral, cross-cutting components in all our humanitarian, peacebuilding and development programmes.
I therefore welcome today’s high-level event, which includes examples of promising initiatives to support mental health and psychosocial well-being, from north-east Nigeria to the Philippines, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
I commend the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Reference Group for developing a wide range of resources during the pandemic, some of which have been translated into more than 140 languages.
And I encourage donors, Governments and humanitarian agencies to scale up their investments in mental health and psychosocial support as a vital component in supporting peaceful, resilient and inclusive communities and societies.