With the COVID-19 epidemic, there is an escalation in the risk millions face from being affected by domestic and gender-based violence which does not only leave a scare on the physical body but also on the mental body.

Network MMS | According to a new WHO survey, The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health is increasing. Globally 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, with intimate partner violence being the most common. Violence usually increases in times of emergencies such as war affected countries, fragile states or during the current Covid-19 pandemic due the resulting lockdowns. Especially young women, women with disabilities and poor women are at increased risk. The challenges in dealing with this situation are two-fold: firstly, only a limited number of women and girls report violence, and secondly, the financial burden of managing the increased case-load is huge.

For too long, mental disorders have been largely overlooked by health systems. This is despite the fact that mental disorders are found in all countries, in women and men, at all stages of life, among the rich and poor, and in both rural and urban settings. If people with mental disorders fail to receive the treatment and care they need, they risk becoming marginalized from society; many descend into poverty and homelessness.

Lack of political support, inadequate management, overburdened health services and, at times, resistance from policy-makers and health workers have hampered the development of coherent mental health systems. Misunderstandings about the nature of mental disorders and their treatment have further complicated progress, despite the evidence of healing traumas and psychological wounds and rebuilding social structures through psychosocial support and care systems.

In this 2-day conference we will look at the impact of mental health on women and their families, especially with regards to gender-based violence, how health systems need to adequately address mental health disorders and how psychosocial support can be given in areas without mental health staff.

Conference organized by Medicus Mundi Switzerland, 18-19 May 2021
Conference website: https://www.medicusmundi.ch/de/austausch-und-vernetzung/veranstaltungen/mms-fachtagung/2021/
Register here: https://exciting-leader-6110.ck.page/99377b725e