Building Back Better: Sustainable Mental Health Care after Emergencies

This WHO report shares detailed accounts from 10 diverse emergency-affected areas, each of which built better-quality and more sustainable mental health systems despite challenging circumstances. Cases originate from countries small to large; low to middle-income; across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East; and affected by large-scale natural disasters, prolonged conflict, and large-scale influxes of refugees. While their contexts varied considerably, all were able to convert short-term interest in population mental health into sustainable, long-term improvements.
This WHO report goes beyond aspirational recommendations by providing detailed descriptions of how mental health reform was accomplished in these situations. Importantly, case contributors report not only their major achievements, but also their most difficult challenges and how they were overcome. Key overlapping practices emerging from these experiences are also summarized.

This report provides the proof of concept that it is possible to build back better, no matter how weak the existing mental health system or how challenging the emergency situation. I call upon all readers to take steps to ensure that those faced with future emergencies do not miss the important opportunity for mental health reform and development.

– Dr Margaret Chan, former Director-General WHO

Executive summary available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish here.

Trauma Stabilisation as a Sole Treatment Intervention for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia contains high numbers of traumatised populations arising from either natural disasters or interpersonal violence. Consequently, empirically based trauma treatments, addressing traumatic sequelae in local populations was needed. Trauma Aid Germany, trained 37 therapists in psycho-traumatology, based on EMDR Therapy, which included trauma stabilisation techniques. This research analysed the impact of Trauma Stabilisation as a sole treatment intervention for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in adults and revealed that it was highly effective in alleviating PTSD diagnoses. Results demonstrate PTSD symptoms were reduced in both clinical and sub-clinical trauma groups. The data set suggests trauma stabilisation, as a sole treatment intervention, was safe, effective, efficient and sufficient treatment intervention for PTSD.

We need the truth Enforced Disappearances in Asia

Enforced disappearances have been a well known to Sri Lanka before, during and the `post´ conflict scenario. However, from time to time we have had large scale disappearances becoming widely used since the 1980s onwards, connected to the politico-military situation and in local areas of the country.

Lightening the Load of the Parental Death Penalty on Children

One of the little-asked questions in debates over the death penalty is what happens to the children of the offender. The arrest, sentencing and (potential)execution of a parent affect children greatly, but they receive little consideration and less support.

Development of a multi-layered psychosocial care system for children in areas of political violence

Few psychosocial and mental health care systems have been reported for children affected by political violence in low and middle income settings and there is a paucity of research-supported recommendations. This paper describes afield tested multi-layered psychosocial care system for children (focus age between 8-14 years), aiming to translate common principles and guidelines into a comprehensive support package

Mental Health Problems Among Adults in Tsunami-Affected Areas in Southern Thailand

Among survivors of the tsunami in southern Thailand, elevated rates of symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression were reported 8 weeks after the disaster, with higher rates for anxiety and depression than PTSD symptoms. Nine months after the disaster, the rates of those reporting these symptoms decreased but were still elevated. This information is important for directing, strengthening, and evaluating post tsunami mental health needs and interventions.

School-Based Mental Health Intervention for Children Affected by Political Violence in Indonesia

In this study of children in violence-affected communities, a school based intervention reduced posttraumatic stress symptoms and helped maintain hope, but did not reduce traumatic-stress related symptoms, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, or functional impairment (9 pages).

Adolescents and the tsunami

On 30 December 2004, four days after the tsunami struck, the Voices of Hope voices of Youth website became a space where young people could build a support group for each other and voice opinions about the direction relief efforts should take. The discussion forum that resulted lasted for three months and became known as Tsunami terror, a name that was suggested by the young people themselves.

Building back better

One year after the tsunami, UNICEF recounts its role in providing immediate relief and ongoing care to the thousands of families and children affected. Helping bring children back to school, providing immunization services, and assisting with registration, placement and reunification of the separated are but a few of the activities UNICEF undertook in the past 12 months. The report provides country-by-country breakdowns that include expenditure, plans and challenges, while highlighting children’s stories and key partners in relief and recovery.

Kontras – The Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence

Kontras (The Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence) was formed in March 1998 by the coalition of 12 pro-democracy NGO`s (Non Government Organization ) such as KIPP (Independent Committee for Election Watch), AJI (the Alliance Independent Journalist), YLBHI (Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation), and one student organization PMII (Indonesian Islamic Student Movement) and activist in response to the Indonesian government`s silence regarding disappearances.