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 (click on Publications Catalog). Use the Catalog to view all PAHO/WHO publications on mental health in emergencies.