274783 Addressing the mental health needs of children and youth in conflicted African communities

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Suzan Song, MD, MPH , Center for Survivors of Torture, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, San Jose, CA
Child soldiers are a common feature of conflicts in low-income, low-resource, politically unstable countries, especially in Africa. Though many children are abducted into the rebel army, others join, in the face of starvation, a lack of opportunities, and the need to provide for their families. Even after peace treaties are signed and the war is officially over, injustice continues for these ex-child combatants, who may remain stigmatized and persecuted, and silenced by their communities. This presentation will review the context in which children become soldiers, the manifold effects on their lives, and approaches to promoting their recovery and reintegration.

Learning Areas:
Clinical medicine applied in public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the context in which children become soldiers in resource-poor countries affected by war Identify the approaches used to reintegrate child soldiers into their communities Discuss the role of the international community in preventing the ongoing exploitation of children in war

Keywords: Child and Adolescent Mental Health, War

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Song has an M.D. from the University of Chicago Pritzker Medical school, adult psychiatry residency training at Harvard Longwood, and a pediatric psychiatry fellowship at Stanford. She is also trained in systemic family therapy through the Bay Area Family Therapy Program. She has served on a team of policy advisors to the Ministry of Health in Liberia and on mental health systems of care for war-affected youth and former child soldiers in Sierra Leone.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.