Delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative Amiera AlHefeiti
I would like to thank Ambassador de la Fuente Ramirez and the Permanent Mission of Mexico for convening today’s discussion on an issue that is often overlooked in the peace and security context.
The mental health impacts of conflict and post-conflict situations should not be ignored. It is especially concerning that those exposed to violence, including children, often exhibit long-lasting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Left untreated, the mental health impacts of conflict can even be life-threatening. This is especially true for women and girls, as it only adds to the barriers that prevent them from participating in public life fully, equally, and meaningfully.
Given the human and social consequences of poor mental health, the international community should pay greater attention to this issue. Ensuring that the broader UN system and its partners are actively planning for and addressing mental health in conflict, especially accounting for gender and age, is critical.
The UAE sees great value in implementing measures to protect mental health in conflict settings:
First, we believe that mental health and psychosocial support should be embedded as essential services provided by humanitarian actors. Projects should be fully funded and executed in an integrated manner. Normalizing mental health services also contributes to fighting stigmatization, which can lead to the alienation of the most vulnerable.
Second, peace operations should prioritize the deployment of mental health providers. In challenging contexts, they can help mission personnel, as we have seen in several peacekeeping operations, and also ensures mission teams collaborate with local health authorities, leaving behind a lasting positive mental health impact in the community.
Investing in mental health, particularly in conflict settings, is an important multiplier of efforts to sustain peace. We thank Mexico for bringing attention to this issue, and look forward to ways it can be incorporated in the Council’s engagement with conflicts on its agenda.
I thank you.