Psychosocial problems and mental disorders can increase in disasters and emergencies. Experienced situations, uncertainty and related stressful circumstances put people at greater risk of suffering. Psychosocial support not only involves care by the health services, but also requires support through coordination of all agents providing services; the design of an adequate comprehensive Psychosocial care plan is indispensable to provide necessary assistance to any type of event.
Mental health services may be scarce at the local level, as a consequence is hard to implement an appropriate response. Population displacement to shelters creates dispersion of families and difficulty in receiving timely humanitarian assistance. In these situations, Primary Health Care (PHC) services or those health teams that act as the first line of contact with the population, must increase their skills for the identification and management of mental health conditions and offer psychosocial support.
Different guides and documents have been created by expert groups to update evidence-based knowledge and make available to health personnel involved in responses in emergencies, disasters, outbreaks and epidemics.
- Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis in the Health Sector in Disaster Situations, 2016
- Technical Guideline for Mental Health in Disaster Situations and Emergencies, 2016
- Mental Health Protection and Psychosocial Support in Epidemic Settings, 2016
The following guidelines are only available in Spanish
- Guía técnica de salud mental en situaciones de desastres y emergencias
- Guía práctica de salud mental en situaciones de desastres
- Primera ayuda psicológica: guía para trabajadores de campo, OMS, War Trauma Foundation y Visión Mundial Internacional (2012)
- Salud Mental y Apoyo Psicosocial en Emergencias Humanitarias: ¿Qué deben saber los Actores Humanitarios de Salud?, IASC, 2010
- Guía del IASC sobre Salud Mental y Apoyo Psicosocial en Emergencias Humanitarias y Catástrofes
- Volver a construir mejor: Atención de salud mental sostenible después de una emergencia, OMS, 2013
- Evaluación de necesidades y recursos psicosociales y de salud mental: Guía de herramientas para contextos humanitarios
Mental Health in Zika
- Psychosocial support for pregnant women and for families with microcephaly and other neurological complications in the context of Zika virus. Interim guidance for health-care providers
Health Emergencies Department
Tel: (202) 974-3434