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Conflict, Peace and Mental HealthAddressing the Consequences of Conflict and Trauma in Northern Ireland$
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David Bolton

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719090998

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719090998.001.0001

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The mental health impact of the Troubles, 2000–2015

The mental health impact of the Troubles, 2000–2015

(p.70) 5 The mental health impact of the Troubles, 2000–2015
Conflict, Peace and Mental Health

David Bolton

Manchester University Press

Following on from Chapter 4, this Chapter explores the development of the understanding of the impact of the violence in Northern Ireland from the period following the Belfast Agreement in April 1998, until 2015. The ceasefires and demilitarisation of the 1990’s and the development of politics in the late 1990’s and thereafter, coincided with increasing evidence that the violence had had a significant adverse impact on the mental health and related wellbeing, economic and social needs and circumstances of the population. The author explores why this might be so. He discusses how the cessation of violence, the challenge of shifting from conflict to peace time ways of thinking and behaving, the use of more appropriate methods of research and other factors, exposed a high level of mental health need linked to the Troubles - with one study suggesting Northern Ireland had the highest level of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) across 30 or so identical international studies. One explanation is that the Troubles endured for over 30 years with high levels of exposure to violence and threat. The trans-generational impact of the Troubles is also discussed. The Chapter concludes with lengthy discussion on these themes and on the challenge of undertaking research in communities where violence is on-going.

Keywords:   Northern Ireland, The Troubles, Research, Mental health, PTSD, GHQ, Suicide, Trans-generational

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