WHO Warns 1 in 7 Libyans Need Mental Health Care

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that one in seven Libyans – approximately one million people – need mental health services for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

WHO confirmed that there is only one specialized mental health professional for every 300,000 people in Libya. The Organisation pledged to implement a two-year project to strengthen mental health services throughout the country.

It reported that the persistent political and security crisis in Libya, and the onset of COVID-19 have affected the mental wellbeing and living standards of Libyans, migrants, and refugees, while also exposing them to substantial protection risks. WHO estimates that mental health conditions more than double when populations are affected by conflict.

A survey conducted in 2019 showed that mental health services were available only in five cities (Tripoli, Benghazi, Sebha, Ajdabiya, and Misrata). Even before the conflict began, only six hospitals, one clinic, and four primary health care facilities (PHC) were providing mental health services.

“Following decades of neglect, it will take years to build services that can cope with emerging needs”, WHO noted in a report.