Online proceedings for the IRCT General Assembly and 10th International Scientific Symposium - Delivering on the Promise of the Right to Rehabilitation

Time: 16:30 to 16:50

Experiences and mental health of internally displaced persons within the context of the armed conflict and the reparation process in Colombia

Presenter(s) and co-author(s): Ms. Carina Heeke ( Berlin Center for Torture Victims - Germany ), Ms. Nadine Stammel ( Berlin Center for Torture Victims - Germany ), Prof. Christine Knaevelsrud ( Freie Universität Berlin - Germany )


After more than fifty years of conflict, Colombia is faced with millions of victims of severe human rights violations. Since 2005 and 2011, various reparation mechanisms have been implemented to indemnify the victims of the armed conflict. The study investigates rates of PTSD, depression and prolonged grief disorder (PGD) in a sample of internally displaced persons in Colombia. Moreover, their opinions regarding the reparations and their attitudes on reconciliation and forgiveness were evaluated.


In a cross-sectional study conducted in four Colombian provinces, n=454 internally displaced persons were interviewed by Colombian psychologists using measures of depression (HSCL-25), PTSD (PCL-C) and PGD (PG- 13).


Results revealed a high number of traumatic events experienced by participants including the loss of significant others and severe mental health impairment in terms of high prevalence of symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression and prolonged grief. In spite of the severe violations of their rights, overall respondents showed a strong disposition towards reconciliation, and a substantial number of participants stated that they had forgiven the armed groups.

Reparations were considered as being important, however respondents showed low overall satisfaction with the reparation process. We used the research evidence derived from our study to inform governmental and non-governmental organizations about the current mental health situation in the aftermath of conflict. New developments regarding psychosocial support for victims of the armed conflict will be discussed.

Funding & No Conflicts Declaration

The study was funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The authors declare having no conflict of interest.

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