Mental health

Mental health: the editorial

One would think that a country that has suffered a multi decade state of war, destruction of most of its infrastructure, the disintegration of its society and the trauma of martyrdom in every household would consider investing into mental health to help Iraqis to overcome their tragic experience. Unfortunately, it is not the case. Iraq has one of the lowest numbers of psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health counselors per inhabitant in the world. This void has left thousands of Iraqis without assistance in the midst of their mental distress. But there is worse. Cultural prejudices play an important role in stymying the establishment of functional mental health institutions.

When there is no will, there is no way. Mental health issues remain widely perceived as a sign of weakness and flaw and many are reluctant to reach out to a specialist for support. Meanwhile the government remains idle as it is in many aspects of its usual social prerogatives. This file comprises a series of articles shedding light on specific aspects of mental health issues in Iraq.

Journalist Sanar Hassan wrote an inspiring and d aring piece to expose the immense pressure sexual minorities are subjected to in the country. The banality of evil in Iraq targets the LGBTQ without mercy with government, clerics, conservative media and armed groups as their main drive. Today, The Red Line is publishing investigative journalist Quentin Muller’s extensive report on Iraq’s psychiatric institutions, where he describes with vivid accounts and thorough analysis, the decay in which mental health facilities are currently in.

On August 15th, The Red Line will publish Dr. Sardar Aziz’s unparalleled essay regarding Iraqi Kurdistan’s society: anger and its impact on the region’s politics. This multi-layered approach dwelling on sociology, philosophy and psychology gives us an unusual insight about the evolution of Kurdistan’s social and political spheres.

Following it, reporter Seif Mehdi’s piece about the psychological impact of bullying in Iraq will remind us that mental health issues also derive from everyday hassles. The impact of bullying has lasting effects on children’s ability to integrate in society and to adapt to a challenging environment.

Our final report will describe how tribal violence can also have a devastating impact on society. reporters Alaa Koli and Mehdi al Saidi studied the impact of this social structure in the region of Dhi Qar and Basrah governorates. As violence and economic distress keep affecting the vast majority of Iraqis, the only hope for the upbringing of a healthier national psyche is with the investment of public institutions in Mental Health facilities and to sensitize Iraqis about the benefits of psychological treatments. To paraphrase Sigmund Freud: “It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built upon a renunciation of instinct”.


Tribal Violence in Iraq: a psychological perspective

News of violence in Iraq has become routine, and it is now rare to witness a day without a case of violence. Political violence...

Bullying in Iraq: the law of the jungle leaves no one untouched

“Just as some of those sentenced to death die of terror hours before their execution, my brother Ammar Ali died after being isolated from...

Iraq, a psychiatric void

In Iraq, depression and psychiatric illness are disregarded although they affect large sections of the population. They are even associated with shame and weakness....

Politics of anger in Iraqi Kurdistan

In Iraq, Kurdistan and in the wider Middle East, anger is in the air. This can be perceived through several events occurring in the...

Being LGBT in Iraq: a mental health nightmare

“I feel that my body no longer belongs to me” Zainab is a 22 years old lesbian women from Baghdad. Her family forced her to...