ABSTRACT: Over 800 million people in 70 countries are classified as “food insecure.” Much humanitarian emphasis focuses on the negative physical consequences of food insecurity, neglecting its deleterious psychological effects. Negative perceptions of food security often coincide with acute mental distress, a complicating factor that intervention policies frequently overlook. This paper posits that understanding the [...]
According to the World Health Organization and Inter-Agency Standing Committee, mental health needs arising from a humanitarian disaster are best addressed by accessing the existing mental health services, and by capacity building initiatives that improve and extend these, rather than by setting up separate services for disaster survivors. Capacity building of primary health care (PHC) workers on mental health issues is an important part of a humanitarian assistance, but also an essential prerequisite for closing the treatment gap for mental disorders in low and middle-income (LAMI) countries. Effectiveness of interventions to change health professionals’ behavior and practices should be a priority area for researchers in developing countries. Still, there is a limited evidence on effectiveness of mental health training for PHC workers in emergency and post-emergency settings in LAMI countries.
Once deployed, many workers are dismayed by the lack of on-site support. As a practical matter, the financial resources of many NGOs do not permit them to provide adequate home office support and supervision for workers in the field. Workers report that feelings of disconnection from those in charge exacerbate job related stress. This is particularly disturbing in light of the environmental and organizational stress common to many humanitarian missions.