The Americas

 

Factors Associated With Poor Mental Health Among Guatemalan Refugees Living in Mexico 20 Years After Civil Conflict

During the period between 1981 and 2001, countless Guatemalans were forced to migrate as a result of the 36-year civil war in their country. The American Medical Association conducted a study in order to determine if a correlation existed between the armed conflict and the mental health of Guatemalan refugees in Mexico. Through cross-sectional surveys of Guatemalan households in Chiapas, the researchers concluded that the civil war in Guatemala had an immense effect on their state of mental health. The evidence is presented in numerical values, demonstrating that the mental health of Guatemalan refugees was below average. More than 50% of people participating in the survey had symptoms of anxiety, over two decades after having experienced trauma during the Guatemalan civil war.

Sabin, Miriam, et al. “Factors Associated With Poor Mental Health Among Guatemalan Refugees Living in Mexico 20 Years After Civil Conflict.” American Medical Association. 2003. Web. October 2013. <http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=197035>.

 

Characteristics of the Colombian armed conflict and the mental health of civilians living in active conflict zones

This report focuses on the ongoing conflict in Colombia and its impacts on a person’s mental health. The authors argue that the mental health of Colombian citizens has been directly affected by the armed conflict prevalent in the country. Research conducted in the region proves that the international community must not only address the mental and physical disabilities of those in direct contact with small arms and weapons but also of those with non-direct exposure to the conflict that has subsequently affected the entire country.

Bell, Vaughan et al. “Characteristics of the Colombian armed conflict and the mental health of civilians living in active conflict zones.” Conflict and Health. Bogota: 2012. Web. October 2013. <http://www.conflictandhealth.com/content/pdf/1752-1505-6-10.pdf>.

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder hitting World War II vets

Journalist Brian Albrecht, who specializes in writing war veteran accounts, tells the story of Peter Carnabuci, a World War II veteran who fought for the United States. Carnabuci recalls memories of concentration camps and being in combat, visions that have troubled him in recent years. Albrecht not only tells the story of Carnabuci but also provides statistics and data to demonstrate that World War II, similar to other conflicts around the world, has had detrimental effects on the mental health of those who fought in it.

Albrecht, Brian. “Post-traumatic stress disorder hitting World War II vets.” Cleveland.com. 15 July 2009. Web. October 2013. <http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/07/posttraumatic_stress_disorder.html>.

 

In Latin America, Women Still Confront Violence

This article, written for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, recognizes the correlation between a local and national conflict and the health of the women exposed to these conflicts. In parts of Latin America, people continue to suffer from armed conflict and economic instability. Subsequently, these particular areas are more prone to high levels of sexual violence against women. For instance, Bolivia and Guatemala continue to have one of the highest rates of femicides. Thus, the authors argue that women in particular will continue to face threatening situations in areas with high levels of conflict.

Meacham, Carl and Johanna Mendelson Forman. “In Latin America, Women Still Confront Violence.” Center for Strategic and International Studies. 8 March 2013. Web. October 2013. <http://csis.org/publication/latin-america-women-still-confront-violence>.

 

Long Term Effects of Civil Conflict on Women’s Health Outcomes in Peru

Franque Grimard and Sonia Laszlo, professors at McGill University, examine the impact of the internal civil conflict in Peru and its impact on local women. Grimard and Laszlo argue, “This conflict affected households’ ability to generate income because of the death or disappearance of income earners and loss of productive assets.” However, not only did the conflict affect Peruvian households economically but it also affected the state of health of women. Grimard and Laszlo present compelling evidence, including data from Peru’s demographic and health surveys, that demonstrates the conflict’s long-lasting effects on women’s anemia and height – to name a few.

Grimard, Franque and Sonia Laszlo. “Long Term Effects of Civil Conflict on Women’s Health Outcomes in Peru.” May 2010. Web. October 2013. <http://www.mcgill.ca/files/economics/Peru_May2010.pdf>.

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