This research report provides new insights on links between mental health, social cohesion, resettlement and reintegration of displaced people, and long-term peace, drawing on a household survey in Baiji, Iraq.
Streets Tell Stories reveals how neighbourhood social environment, including social cohesion, institutional trust and political participation, matters for the mental health and psychosocial outcomes of residents.
It notes that positive social environments at the street-level act as buffers to protect individual psychosocial well-being from shocks in general and moderate the effects of previous conflict exposure on people’s psychosocial well-being when they return.
It proposes that investments in social cohesion, institutional trust, and participation are just as important to improving the mental health and well-being of residents as rebuilding infrastructure and livelihoods, as the former are likely to have significant positive effects on well-being and negative effects on conflict recurrence, which in turn make the latter more sustainable.
The report has implications for policy and programming at the intersection of the health, humanitarian and peacebuilding sectors, with resonance beyond Iraq.