MSF withdraws mental health services from Kashmir

The international humanitarian org, on Sat said it has stopped its mental health sevices in Kashmir due to increasing violence and a round-the-clock curfew.

Srinagar: Medecins Sans Frontieres(MSF), the international humanitarian organisation, on Saturday said it has stopped its mental health sevices in Kashmir due to increasing
violence and a round-the-clock curfew.

"Increasing violence and the new round-the-clock curfew imposed last Sunday led the MSF to halt its mental health activities in the Kashmir Valley," the organisation said in a statement here.
The MSF said strict curfew was in place in several parts of the state. "No person without a valid curfew pass is allowed to step out of their house. Sometimes curfew passes are not
honoured. Road blocks are numerous, the shops are closed and the streets empty," it added.

"Patients with gunshot wounds and tear gas shell injuries are treated in the hospitals in the main city of Srinagar, but while their physical injuries are being treated, many also have psychological needs," the organisation said.

It said with the cooperation of hospital staff, since February this year, the MSF counsellors have been visiting patients in the hospitals and offering on-the-spot
psychological assistance to victims of violence and their families.
"We are calling it mental health first aid," MSF Project Coordinator Sasha Matthews said. But with the new curfew - ongoing now for six days - and the general security situation, MSF teams have had no access to the hospitals to continue conducting the counselling sessions, he said.

MSF is concerned about how this deteriorating situation will affect people and their mental health, Martin Sloot, Head of Mission for MSF in India, said. Our national staff has been confined to their homes, Sloot added.

PTI

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