WHO reports a concerning lack of mental health services in Libya

The World Health Organization (WHO) in its latest report on Libya has noted that mental health services in Libya are ‘non-existent’ even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be the leading cause of increased anxiety, vulnerability and psychological stress in 2020 globally.

People’s access to Primary Health Care facilities, which are the most common entry point for detecting and referring patients in need of mental health care, has been hampered by lockdowns and curfews, a report from local publication Libya Express said.

According to the report, the primary psychiatric hospital in Tripoli was closed for much of 2020, and outpatient services were discontinued due to COVID-19 restrictions.

According to the WHO 2020 Libya study, mental health disorders (such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder) more than quadruple when communities are afflicted by violence.

According to the report, one in every seven Libyans, or nearly one million people, requires mental health care.

WHO continues to prioritize improving access to mental health and psychosocial support services in Libya. The Organization will soon begin implementing a two-year project to strengthen mental health services across the country.