Maria Camila Garcia Duran

Thesis Title: The impact of peacebuilding public programmes on mental health of victims of the conflict: the case of Colombia

Abstract: War and conflict have been identified as one of the key drivers of mental disorders in low-and-middle-income countries. Despite extensive research on the impact of conflict, few studies have attempted to understand how initiatives to build peace and end conflict contribute to the mental health of populations affected by war. This project aims to address this gap.

Colombia endured a civil conflict that lasted more than 50 years and left over nine million people registered as victims. The case of Colombia is a unique opportunity to study the effects of peacebuilding interventions on mental health. The specific objectives of this study are 1) To examine whether it is possible through a major psychological programme to address the mental health consequences of war on victims of the conflict; and 2) To determine if a programme that reduces poverty by increasing opportunities for education and employment improve the mental health of young people in conflict-affected areas.

Several health surveys and longitudinal data will be used to address this objective. Changes in diagnoses, hospitalizations, self-harm, and use of mental health services among participants in a large psychosocial program for victims will be assessed. In addition, the project will examine whether participation in a conditional cash transfer program aimed at increasing access to education has an impact on mental health outcomes.

First Supervisor: Professor Crick Lund

Publications: Maldonado Viasús, D. C., Perdomo, G. A., García Duran, M. C., Pulido, A. C., Lüchau Hernandez, M., Borrero Roldan, E., Moreno, S. M. (2022). ENDS consumption in students of higher education: Phenomenon on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tobacco Induced Diseases, 20(November), 100.

Tamayo-Agudelo, W., Acosta-Ortiz, A., Hamid, A., Gómez-García, C., García-Durán, M. C., Daccach-González, V., Solmi, F., & Bell, V. (2021). Family functioning but not social capital is associated with better mental health in adolescents affected by violence and displacement by armed conflict in Colombia. The International journal of social psychiatry, 207640211045417. Advance online publication.