Disaster Psychosocial Response Handbook

Disaster Psychosocial Response Handbook

Handbook for Community Counsellor Trainers

This hand book is meant for trainees and disaster managers to develop psychosocial services to help people to cope with the emotional effects of disasters

Psychosocial intervention has become a valued dimension of immediate and long-term disaster response. Psychological recovery is recognized as a focus for relief efforts, along with repairing homes and rebuilding bridges. As public mental health services are primarily limited to serving those with serious and
persistent mental illnesses, and the affected survivors requiring attention far outnumbered the available mental health personnel, there was a need to train a special group in dealing with the general population who were struggling to cope with loss, disruption, and, in some cases, tragedy.

The concept of Community Counselors was developed as a potential tool for dealing with the complex task of identifying those displaying the effects of psychological trauma from within the community, taking into account the needs of special groups such as children and the elderly, and providing “psychological first-aid” and counsel to them at the community level in a culturally appropriate manner. The community counselor concept, overcomes the geographic and resource hurdle by training members from the affected community to identify and counsel those suffering from psychological trauma within that community. These same counselors can then be utilized to help the community to regain their socioeconomic independence.