Dealing with the “Complex Emergency” in Zimbabwe: Thoughts on Psycho-social support to the community.
Whilst there is continual reference to the suffering of those affected by the Zimbabwe crisis, particularly in reference to Operation Murambatsvina and the burgeoning food crisis, insufficient attention has been given to the mental health consequences, both psychological and social, of the massive social upheaval and organized violence and torture that has accompanied the crisis.
A strong argument can be made that Zimbabwe now conforms to the kind of situation currently termed a ―complex emergency. In the context of economic collapse, the collapse of all supportive services [health and social welfare], severe food shortages, and mass violence, Zimbabwe resembles a country at war, but in the absence of the obvious features of war. The types of trauma reported, especially in the past 5 years, conform in most respects to those seen in obvious times of war: the profiles for the pre-Independence period and Matabeleland in the period 1980 to 1987 are markedly similar to that seen nationally since 2000. Certainly, the mental health consequences seem wholly similar to what would be seen in other complex emergencies where there has been obvious war. It is worth noting again that international commentators are now arguing that there is need to plan for the kinds of assistance for Zimbabwe that would ordinarily be reserved for post-conflict situations.
In promoting awareness about mental health, RAU releases again a number of reports that we have previously released.