Burkina Faso: Mental health care for survivors of violence

The world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Burkina Faso. Over the past two years, escalating violence by armed groups in the north and east of the country has forced more than one million people to flee their homes. In addition to their physical injuries and ailments, many people also suffer from invisible wounds. Many have been victims of violence, have lost loved ones, or witnessed atrocities.

“They may have fear or anxiety or are in permanent stress,” says Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) psychologist Issaka Dahila. To ease the psychological suffering of people affected by the conflict, MSF teams started mental health activities in Burkina Faso’s Eastern region at the end of 2019. This year, between July and September alone, 128 people attended individual consultations and 4,391 people participated in group mental health sessions with MSF.