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Suicidal feelings run high among mothers in refugee camps: a cross-sectional survey

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Rahman A, Hafeez A. Suicidal feelings run high among mothers in refugee camps: a cross-sectional survey.

Acta Psychiatr Scand 2003: 108: 392–393. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2003. Objective:

To study levels of mental distress in a sample of Afghan mothers caring for children in two refugee camps in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan. Method:

Cross-sectional survey of 297 consecutive mothers with young children, attending primary care centres, using a psychiatric screening instrument, the Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20). Results:

One hundred and six (36%) of women in the sample screened positive for a common mental disorder. Ninety-six (91%) of those screening positive had had suicidal thoughts in the previous month, and nine (8%) rated suicidal feeling as their topmost concern. Conclusion:

There is a high prevalence and severity of mental distress in Afghan mothers caring for young children in refugee camps. This may have serious long-term effects on the psychological and physical development of their children.

Keywords: Afghanistan; child care; depression; mental health; refugees; suicide; war; women

Document Type: Short Communication

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0447.2003.00220.x

Affiliations: 1: Human Development Research Foundation, Islamabad, Pakistan 2: Child Advocacy International, Islamabad, Pakistan

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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