Tripoli, 14 August:
Last year’s revolution may have had serious mental health repercussions for the people of Libya, according to . . .[restrict]a study carried out by researchers at The University of Queensland, in Australia.
The study found that 40 per cent of those who were most directly involved in the revolution suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more than a third are afflicted by depression, half of these cases being described as severe. It is estimated that fifty per cent of those with PTSD also have symptoms of depression.
The research, led by Fiona Charlson of the university’s School of Population Health, raised the worrying concern that mental health problems in Libya may be too big for the country’s struggling medical services to combat.
“Our estimates show that more than 120,000 Libyans are predicted to have the most severe form of PTSD while more than 220,000 are predicted to have severe depression,” said Charlson.
“This is a huge burden on the Libyan health service and, not surprisingly, the country’s capacity to meet its mental health needs fall exceedingly short of what is likely to be required.”
Following World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, the researchers estimated that the country requires around 150 qualified mental health professionals to assuage the mental damage caused by the revolution, around 60 more than are thought to be currently practising in Libya.