NPCT - Refugee Wellness Country Guide - DRC

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Refugee Wellness Country Guide – Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

This guide offers information on the mental health considerations, healthcare, beliefs, customs, language and history of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC is the second largest African country and approximately one quarter the size of the United States. Some of its natural resources include diamonds, gold, coal, and petroleum. Conflicts have included several regime changes, two wars, and ongoing armed violence from many rebel groups, militia, and surrounding countries. Civilians experience ongoing trauma throughout these conflicts, including high rates of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), abduction and conscription into armed forces, and forced displacement from homes and villages. SGBV is widely used as a weapon of war, with several studies revealing approximately 40% of women and 20% of men experience sexual violence in their lifetime. The psychosocial consequences of SGBV are often compounded by the fact that both sexual violence and mental illness are highly stigmatized in the DRC.