Sustainable mental health care after emergencies

Lately the world has witnessed several emergency situations, such as natural disasters, civil wars, armed conflicts and disease outbreaks.

After emergencies people are more likely to suffer from a range of mental health problems and those with pre-existing mental disorders often need even more help than before.

Nevertheless , emergencies, in spite of their tragic nature and adverse effects on mental health, present unique opportunities for improving the quality of mental health care available to a population.

Humanitarian organizations try to help people with their psychosocial needs in the immediate aftermath of emergencies but too often do little to strengthen mental health systems for the long term.

WHO’s report “Building Back Better: Sustainable mental health care after emergencies”, describes in detail how opportunities have been seized during and after emergencies to build better mental health care.

Lessons learnt and key overlapping practices emerged from experiences in Afghanistan, Burundi, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This is an important achievement because mental health is crucial to the overall well-being, functioning, and resilience of individuals, societies and countries recovering from emergencies.

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