The World Health Organization revealed that one in seven Libyans needs mental and psychological health care, as a result of the ongoing political and security crises, which have been reinforced by the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Sunday, the organization stated, in its latest update of the epidemiological situation in Libya between 12 and 26 November, that it ranked "the second after Tunisia in the region," with 161 deaths per million people. During the past two weeks, there was also an increase of 13% in the number of cases.
The World Health Organization estimates that mental health conditions more than double when populations are affected by conflict. It is likely that one in seven Libyans - close to a million people - will need mental health care for conditions such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
A survey conducted by the World Health Organization in 2019 showed that mental health services were only available in five cities, namely, Tripoli, Benghazi, Sebha, Ajdabiya and Misrata. They added, "Even before the conflict started, only six hospitals, one clinic and four primary health care facilities provided mental health services."
After decades of neglect, it may take years to build services that can meet emerging needs. There is only one mental health specialist for every 300,000 people in Libya. “Neighboring Tunisia has one mental health specialist for every 100,000 people.” The World Health Organization announced that it will soon start implementing a two-year project to strengthen mental health services throughout the country.