SC: Arria on Mental Health

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Odd-Inge Kvalheim in the Security Council Arria Formula meeting on Ensuring access to Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict, Post-conflict and Humanitarian Settings, 25 March 2022.

Norway would like to thank Mexico and the briefers for shedding light on this topic.

As we have heard, armed conflict and other crises cause both physical and mental harm, traumatising children and adults.

In Syria, approximately one in 10 people live with a mild to moderate mental health condition, while 1 in 30 are likely to suffer from a more severe condition.

In Yemen, trauma and mental health issues are widespread. This is particularly troubling in a country where only 50 precent of health facilities are working - and there are less than 50 psychiatrists available for a population of more than 30 million.

In Ukraine, children are traumatised by the bombardment and destruction of the places they live, learn and play by Russian forces.

And in Afghanistan, women suffer from feelings of isolation as a result of being excluded from arenas they could previously participated in, and girls are again denied the right to education.

We see this harsh reality across the world, and these are just a few examples.

Colleagues, too often these needs remain invisible and unmet. More clearly needs to be done. Mental health services and psychosocial support strengthen people’s resilience in the face of adversity; they save lives and protect dignity; and they enable people to rebuild their lives after conflict. They therefore must be part of primary health care systems during conflict, and be an essential part of any humanitarian response.

We must invest in quality programmes in primary health care and humanitarian response - including through unearmarked funding - so that MHPSS can be delivered where it is most needed.


As Chair of the CAAC Working Group, Norway would like to highlight two essential points when it comes to children, mental health and conflict.

First, that psychosocial support is essential for children associated with armed groups, including terrorist groups, to facilitate their successful reintegration.

And second, that upholding the right to education - particularly for girls - is crucial, and goes beyond educational outcomes. Formal education alleviates the psychological impact of armed conflict, anchors children in their communities, and provides hope for the future. In this respect we call for the full implementation of resolution 2601 on education in conflict, and encourage all States to endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration.

Finally before concluding, we underline the need for targeted mental health services and psychosocial support for survivors of conflict related sexual and gender-based violence which impacts primarily women and girls, but also men and boys.

Thank you.


Thank you