Share via

The Psychological Effects of Wars

War has disastrous effects on the health and well-being of children and young people.

Wars destroy societies and families and often disrupt the development of nations’ social and economic fabric. The consequences include;

  • Long-term physical and psychological damage to children and adults.
  • A decline in physical and human capital.
  • Conflict causes various mental health problems.

Psychological Problems

During the war, the individual tries to avoid dangers with all his strength and to stay alive; therefore, some express a state of shock by crying and intense anxiety, and others rely (postponement) upon, which is the psychological process during which the individual lives a semi-natural state immediately after the trauma.

Psychological Problems

The resulting psychological symptoms appear For a while after the threat has passed; these symptoms include:

  • Severe anxiety.
  • Hallucinations. 
  • A noticeable increase in movement. 
  • Sometimes absent from the present and a feeling of guilt.
  • And may turn into physical problems such as stuttering.
  • Returning to urination in young children.
  • Hair loss in adults and others.

Psychological Effects of War on Families and Civilians

During the war, people can be exposed to many different traumatic events. That raises the chances of developing mental health problems—like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression—and poorer adult life outcomes.

In some violent armed conflicts, children may be separated from their families and communities by armed groups. These “child soldiers” can witness or participate in killings and experience other traumatic events. In addition to the psychological trauma and physical injuries, many former child soldiers face rejection from family and community after the war.

Living Through the War

Approximately 535 million children – nearly one in four – live in countries affected by conflict or disaster, often without access to health care, quality education, adequate nutrition, and protection.

The effects of conflict, natural disasters, and climate change force children to flee their homes, trap them behind conflict lines, and put them at risk of disease, violence, and exploitation. Despite remarkable progress, far too many children are left behind because of their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or disability, because they live in poverty or hard-to-reach communities, or simply because they are children.

Living Through the War

Early Childhood

Children caught up in conflict or crisis may spend years of their early life displaced from their homes. They are especially vulnerable in…

  • Crisis situations.
  • Risk of physical harm.
  • Psychological trauma.

They miss out on crucial social, emotional, and cognitive development opportunities, and their parents may struggle for help due to trauma and anxiety.

School-Aged Youth

Wars and political conflicts in many countries of the world have greatly affected many vital institutions, including the educational institution, which today suffers from various problems and crises, including direct targeting by the warring parties. Attracting and recruiting children has raised concerns and fears of many parties and international organizations that fear the continuation and exacerbation of these problems.

Socio-Ecological Interventions

The socio-ecological model conceptualizes health broadly and focuses on multiple factors that may affect health, especially in uninhabitable environments.

Hundreds of people have been forced into dozens of camps and slums in the Middle East for millions of refugees and internally displaced people fleeing violent conflict. These camps are often built in temporary conditions, with limited resources and strict financial and time controls. These camps may have severe environmental impacts on local natural resources such as water or may create waste management challenges.

Socio-Ecological Interventions

As time passes and the camp population increases in the Middle East, many challenges will be. Geographical, climatic, and environmental dynamics will significantly affect the logistical capacity of relief crews and the overall health of camp residents. Syria is the source of many vitriolic examples.

Mental Health in the Refugee Camps or Displacement Areas

All the stresses that migrants experience can increase the risk of developing mental health conditions. For example, unemployment, poor socioeconomic conditions, and a lack of social integration between immigrants and refugees are risk factors for mental health conditions such as depression. At the same time, these stressors can also exacerbate pre-existing social and mental health problems.

And the negative factors that affect the physical and mental health of migrants and refugees:

  1. Social and economic deprivation.
  2. Discrimination.
  3. Racism.
  4. Decreased family cohesion.
  5. Frequent school changes.

Children separated from immigrant parents are at increased risk of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, conduct disorder, and substance use problems.

Read More

  1. Violence Against Children
  2. Gender-Based Violence
  3. Children Recruited by the Armed Forces


What is the importance of mental health among youth?

Mental health is an important issue among youth for a variety of reasons. For example, mental health problems can lead to a variety of other issues, such as substance abuse, poor academic performance, and social isolation.
Early intervention is important in order to prevent more serious problems from developing.

What is the definition of mental health in children?

Mental health in children is defined as a child’s ability to cope with their emotions and stressors, think clearly, manage their behavior, make friends, and succeed in school. A mental health disorder is diagnosed when a child’s symptoms interfere with their daily life.

How can we help youth mental health?

There are several ways to help youth mental health, but it really depends on the individual situation. For some, therapy or medication may be necessary; however, others may just need some support and understanding from family and friends.
Here are a few ideas:
-Encourage them to talk about their feelings.
-Help them find healthy emotional outlets, such as journaling, art, or exercise.
-Ensure they get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and stay hydrated.
-Be there for them when they need to talk.
-Avoid putting pressure on them or comparing them to others.
-Teach them relaxation techniques or meditation.