Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WHO Guidelines Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings

The WHO's Inter-Agency Standing Committee Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings has developed new guidelines for providing psychological support during emergencies. A few quick notes:

The core idea behind [these guidelines] is that, in the early phase of an emergency, social supports are essential to protect and support mental health and psychosocial well-being.

Scientific evidence regarding the mental health and psychosocial supports that prove most effective in emergency settings is still thin. ... The focus of the guidelines is on implementing minimum responses, which are essential, high-priority responses that should be implemented as soon as possible in an emergency.

[This document] calls for a single, overarching coordination group on mental health and psychosocial support to be set up when an emergency response is first mobilised.
The most practical part of the doc is the matrix of interventions (starts on page 19 of the doc), which defines general actions that should be considered during the preparedness phase, in the midst of the emergency, and during the long-term response and recovery phase.

All things considered, this is a quite useful document for preparedness professionals.

No comments: