These discussions will bring together representatives from the development, humanitarian and health sectors to discuss how mental health and psycho-social care are taken into consideration in humanitarian emergencies. Groupe URD will be involved alongside the Carter Centre and Médecins Sans Frontières.
With the risks of psychological trauma in the event of a disaster or accident being taken into account more in Western societies, mental health has gradually been taken into account more in the humanitarian sector as well in the last decade. There has been growing awareness about the psychological damage caused by violence during conflicts, such as in Rwanda or ex-Yugoslavia.
Psycho-social programmes often target children, with a wide range of “occupational” activities. An “economic and social” section is aimed at adults. However, despite increasing funds being made available for this type of programme, they rarely include ethnological and anthropological analysis. They therefore often do not take into account cultural and religious aspects of death, mourning and pain, and often overlook existing mechanisms for managing trauma.
Despite the importance of mental health issues amongst those affected by crises, and the fact that these are inseparable from humanitarian and development aid, and despite increasing awareness, these issues are often ignored in aid programmes. The objective of this discussion is therefore to raise public awareness and review the different initiatives, practices and challenges related to psychosocial care.