Recommendations by a UNU-led group of experts contributed to the inclusion in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 of mental health services and psychosocial support as important measures for disaster recovery. This new framework, which will guide global efforts to reduce disaster risk over the next 15 years, was adopted at the March 2015 UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan.
UNU-IAS and the UNU International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) facilitated the UN Expert Group Meeting on Mental Well-being, Disability and Disaster Risk Reduction in November 2014 in Tokyo, producing a set of recommendations for addressing these issues in the disaster risk reduction (DRR) and sustainable development agendas. The recommendations were actively promoted by a number of member states and organizations in advance of the WCDRR, leading to their inclusion in the Sendai framework.
After disasters, people may experience intense mental and psychosocial suffering. Psychological factors play key roles in determining physical health and survival, quality of life, resilience, motivation, and the ability to prepare, recover and reconstruct. Research has demonstrated higher mortality and morbidity for persons with disabilities compared with those without. Nevertheless, the rights of persons with disabilities — including mental or intellectual disabilities — tend to be marginalized in DRR debates and policies.
The expert group was formed to address this challenge, bringing together UN experts to review evidence on mental well-being and disability related to disasters, share lessons learned and best practices, and develop recommendations for mainstreaming these issues in DRR. For more information, please refer to the report of the expert group meeting.