All children have a right to mental health and wellbeing

Worldwide, 10-20% of children and adolescents have a mental health condition. 1 in 5 individuals living in conflict have mental health disorders. Children who have fled Ukraine are struggling with their mental health, with more than one in two children surveyed feeling anxious or worried about their future.

For years, Save the Children has responded to the unique needs of children impacted by conflict and displacement. In the wake of the pandemic, we've worked around the clock to help to address the immediate and long-term threats of COVID-19, including the devastating toll on children’s mental health globally.

With current support for children’s mental health needs in conflicts is woefully inadequate, Save the Children is proud to support  proud the MINDS Act, bipartisan legislation that would promote mental health and psychosocial support as a key component of U.S. foreign assistance. Join us - Tell Congress to pass the MINDS Act by visiting our political advocacy arm – Save the Children Action Network – and sending a message to Congress.

How do conflict and displacement impact mental health?

Conflict can affect children indirectly. It can even impact children who are not experiencing it firsthand.

In Yemen, children look through the rubble of a crumbling building destroyed by conflic.t

Even if they are not physically harmed by violence, children can experience toxic stress from witnessing violence, hearing attacks, fleeing their homes. Any child who has been displaced has experienced loss. 

Displacement means a child will have lost secure access to food, shelter, health care, and protection. 

Not all children who experience trauma are traumatized—and we must acknowledge and respect that they are active participants in their lives.

Some children will be traumatized. They may act out, experience increased anxiety, or have internalizing effects such as stomach aches, urinary incontinence, or trouble sleeping.

Getting children back to school and play—and quickly—is key to supporting their resilience.

In Their Own Words: Children's Mental Health in Crisis 

Children are under increasing emotional and psychological pressure as they bear the brunt of the world's worsening crisis. 

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