Research reveals devastating effect war has on childrens mental health

Violence and conflict in areas affected by war, such as Gaza, can have a devastating effect on the mental health of the children exposed to it, according to Professor Panos Vostanis from the Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour.

After extensive research into trauma caused by war, Professor Vostanis has observed how children are affected both directly through witnessing violence and experiencing loss and indirectly due to the impaired ability of parents to protect their children and the disruption of vital support networks.

In order to challenge this and provide increased protection and well-being for children, the University is launching a number of joint research projects on a range of child mental health problems with the State Islamic University Jakarta, after a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed in October 2014.

The projects form part of the global World Awareness for Children in Trauma (WACIT) campaign which is led by Leicester and involves centres from eight countries. The programme focuses on promoting child well-being by integrating cultural diversity in schools, clinical and community settings such as orphanages.

The launch will start with a conference entitled ‘Promoting Children's Health, Development and Wellbeing: Integrating Cultural Diversity’ at the State Islamic University Jakarta on 5 – 7 November, with Professor Panos Vostanis as the keynote speaker.