Four principles of mental health research and psychosocial intervention for child soldiers: lessons learned in Nepal

Kohrt B.A., Jordans M.J.D., Morley C.A.

International Psychiatry

Published on: July 2010

Abstract: Child soldiers represent a challenging population for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), as we have little evidence regarding their needs or the efficacy of interventions. Despite an increasing breadth of MHPSS interventions for children affected by war, very few are supported by evidence (Jordans et al, 2009). In a recent decade-long conflict, Maoists and the government of Nepal conscripted thousands of children to serve as soldiers, sentries, spies, cooks and porters. After the war ended in 2006, we began a project incorporating research into the development of interventions for former child soldiers. Through this work, conducted with Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, we identified four key principles to guide research and intervention with child soldiers (Fig. 1). We present these principles as location- and context-specific examples of the growing effort to develop guidelines and recommendations for research and intervention in acute post-conflict settings (Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2007; Allden et al, 2009).

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