FROM THE FIELD: facing up to the extreme mental health pressures of conflict

© UNHCR/Susan Hopper UNHCR Spokesperson and Communications Head, Melissa Fleming (l) interviews Fabrizio Hochschild, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination, for the Awake at Night podcast

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

For those caught up in conflict situations, the trauma can lead to severe mental health problems. This is also the case for the humanitarian workers who are trying to help them.

During much of his 30-year career as a humanitarian with the UN, Fabrizio Hochschild, today a senior UN official reporting directly to the Secretary-General, struggled with mental health issues associated with his work.

Mr. Hochschild, who has risen through the ranks to become the Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder following a posting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the time of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, early in his career.

In this episode of the award-winning podcast series Awake At Night, produced by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, Mr. Hochschild talks openly about his experience, the effect it had on him personally and professionally, and why it is important to end the stigma of mental illness.

You can hear testimony from several humanitarian workers, and their experiences in some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous locations, by listening to the other episodes of Awake At Night here.


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  1. Harold A Maio says:

    —– it is important to end the stigma of mental illness

    It is important to stop arguing there is one. It is important to educate those who say there is.

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