Mental Health

The toll of disasters on mental health is wide-ranging. Those suffering from pre-existing mental health conditions are at increased risk for worsening symptoms, and post-disaster studies reveal increases in new symptoms of mental health conditions in affected populations. Mental health research for disaster and humanitarian settings is important. Appreciating the cultural perceptions of mental health is essential prior to selecting a research question and designing studies to address it. Furthermore, the risks of psychological studies, especially where participants are asked to recall events or trauma, should be carefully examined; the opportunity to recall disaster-related events in a safe environment can be beneficial, but not for everyone. This requires careful monitoring of participants by well-trained research staff and others, evaluating various power imbalances (including those between researcher and participant), and collaborating in data dissemination and post-study activities. Populations considered particularly vulnerable, such as children or those in institutional care settings, should be included in mental health and psychosocial research as much as possible. As with other areas of research, ethical challenges with particular populations should not lead to their exclusion from research into their mental health needs.

Which of the following are features of your study?

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