Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies
General information related to most emergencies
The target group for WHO work on mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies is any population exposed to extreme stressors, such as refugees, internally displaced persons, disaster survivors and terrorism-, war- or genocide-exposed populations.
The WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse emphasizes that the number of persons exposed to extreme stressors is large and that exposure to extreme stressors is a risk factor for mental health and social problems. The Department’s work on mental health in emergencies focuses mostly on resource-poor countries, where most populations exposed to natural disasters and war live.
The Department’s objectives, with respect to the mental and social aspects of health of populations exposed to extreme stressors are:
- to be a resource in terms of technical advice for policy and field activities by governmental, nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations;
- to provide leadership and guidance to improve policy and interventions in the field;
- to facilitate the generation of an evidence base for field activities and policy at community and health system level.