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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

versão impressa ISSN 0034-7450

rev.colomb.psiquiatr. vol.42 no.1 Bogotá jan./mar. 2013



Violence and Mental Health

Violence caused by the political and socioeconomic situation of Colombia has serious consequences on the physical and mental health of its inhabitants. This forces psychiatric professionals to find new knowledge and proposals for prevention, assistance, and rehabilitation for the victims of this phenomenon. Some manifiestations of this conflict that affect mental health are displacement, disintegration of families, physical and psychological abuse, torture, kidnapping, terrorism, delinquency, and many others which we have endured for years.

The number of persons who are victims of violence is exponential in our country, and this has catastrophic consequences for their mental health and for the disintegration of their social environment and supportive social networks which are so important for the human condition. We are still far away from truly recognizing the real mental health conditions of our population subjected to violence; we are still long way away from determining what the most common problems are and how they manifiest themselves.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, psychotic episodes, drug dependence, and poor personality structure developed in inadequate environment are some of the pathologies we frequently have to face. In response, the State only offers precarious solutions.

Colombian psychiatry has the social responsibility to propose alternatives of assistance and rehabilitation for these disorders, and even though it is not possible to remedy the base problem, prevention and promotion of mental health issues should partially decrease the consequences of violence.

In this number of the Journal we publish several articles about the topic, as well as two articles about family dysfunctions. We invite all mental health personnel to work on these issues which are so important and urgent for the welfare of our community.

Carlos A. Palacio A.