Depending on the magnitude of a disaster and other factors, one-third to one-half of the affected population can manifest some type of psychosocial problem. Post-disaster mental health problems will require prolonged attention as the victims struggle to rebuild their lives.
In 2002, PAHO/WHO published Protecting Mental Health in Disaster Situations (in Spanish only) as a planning guide for mental health issues in emergencies. This new publication, also in Spanish only, is a companion piece—a practical manual of procedures for identifying and managing psychosocial manifestations common among disaster victims. This how-to guide for health workers in emergency situations looks at many interesting issues including: managing group dynamics in disaster situations; problems common in childhood and adolescence; psychological first aid and mental health issues among the displaced, whether the displacement is due to natural disasters or conflict situations. Download this new publication at www.paho.org/disasters (click on Publications Catalog). Use the Catalog to view all PAHO/WHO publications on mental health in emergencies.