Nepal and Colombia Struggle With Mental Health Burden of Conflict

Credit: SEWA BHATTARAIBy Sewa BhattaraiOct 29 2019 (IPS) Children sit in a circle experimenting with different colours on palettes at a shelter in Godavari one morning this week. Some design flowers in bright colours, others draw homes nestled below mountains. Many of the children are survivors of rape or domestic violence, from rural parts of Nepal. The one thing they have in common is mental trauma. For Colombian painter Dairo Vargas (pictured with students of Kitini College) who is coaching these and other Nepali children, the situation is very familiar to that of his own country. Vargas himself suffered depression as a teenager, and believes art can be a great healer in a country wracked by war. “Traumatised people often cannot express their suffering to other people, and art is a space where they can free themselves. Completing a piece of art also helps the brain make connections, and gives a sense of achievement and confidence.” “When I was depressed, I could not focus on anything. But when I start painting, I am able to concentrate on what I am creating. That gives me a sense of calm, and slowly helped me overcome depression,” says Vargas, who now helps others like him around the world. Nepal and Colombia share the common burden of war trauma — people in both countries today struggle with the violence of their past, and seek closure. Nepal signed a peace accord with the Maoists in 2006, and Colombia made peace with the FARC rebel group ...
Source: IPS Inter Press Service - Health - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Authors: Tags: Asia-Pacific Featured Headlines Health Human Rights Latin America & the Caribbean TerraViva United Nations Colombia mental health Nepal Source Type: news

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