Healing Invisible Wounds

International Medical Corps knows what it takes to save lives. We do this constantly, under the most challenging conditions. But changing lives involves more than healing sick or wounded bodies. It also means healing hearts and minds.

Those we serve on the front lines of war and disaster have been exposed to extreme violence and have endured unthinkable conditions. They often bear invisible but profound wounds of emotional distress. They need a truly holistic approach to rebuild their lives.

During our 34 years as a global first responder, International Medical Corps has been a global leader in addressing mental health care—both during emergencies and well after the headlines fade. Today, scientific evidence is mounting to support what we have always known: that mental and emotional health are critical to the strength of individuals and communities, and that lasting resilience comes from the inside out. That’s why we work hard to break down barriers to access, to educate communities and to train local healthcare workers, seeking to meet the need for mental health care services in low-income countries affected by conflict, disaster or disease.

The focus of this year’s Mental Health Day is young people. Too often, in the chaos of mass crisis, the needs of children and youth in particular go ignored—leaving them debilitated by trauma during the most vulnerable time of their lives. Their ability to grow into resilient adults who can contribute to the well-being of their families and communities depends on comprehensive mental and emotional support. So we work to ensure that all children and youth—no matter their circumstances—receive the care they need to help them recover, regain strength and reach their full potential.

Join us this month in diving deeper into mental health around the world as we illuminate the ways in which disaster compounds the shared human experience of loss and grief. Together, we can support one another in healing from the inside out—to not only save lives, but to transform them.

Mental Health Fast Facts

  • Mental illness accounts for 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide
  • When disaster hits, the number of people suffering mental health disorders can double
  • Almost half (45%) of the global burden of disease for young people is attributable to mental disorders
  • Low-income countries have an average of 1 psychiatrist per 2 million people (compared to 1 psychiatrist per 12,000 people in high-income countries)
  • Only 1% of the global health workforce is working in the field of mental health today