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According to the World Health Organization, the number of persons traumatized by events such as armed conflicts and natural disasters in 2015 has only been matched by the post-World War II population of refugees and displaced individuals1. A document prepared in 2009 by Oxfam International estimated that by the year 2015, the number of people affected by disasters would reach 375 Million2.
Of these people, many will experience the onset or exacerbation of mental health issues due to the extreme levels of stress placed on the body and mind. Unlike physical injuries, mental and emotional trauma is sometimes more difficult to identify, and such affected individuals are at risk of being overlooked.
The World Health Organization and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees states:
Reducing stress and strengthening social support is an integral part of Mental, Neurological and Substance use (MNS) treatment in humanitarian settings, where people often experience extremely high levels of stress. This includes not only the stress felt by people with MNS conditions but also the stress felt by their carers and dependents. Stress often contributes to or worsens existing MNS conditions1.
In disaster-affected areas, where resources to deal with mental health issues are often sorely lacking, access to easily deployed, simple, practical methods for addressing stress-related conditions can be of huge benefit.
Humanitarian Support Asia (HSA) was created in response to the needs of highly stressed and traumatized individuals and communities, including aid workers and relief personnel, in disaster-stricken areas in Asia. HSA works in collaboration with TRE for All, a not for profit organization focused on assisting individuals in disaster struck areas to recover from day-to-day tension and stress as well as PTSD symptoms.
1World Health Organization and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGAP-HIG): Clinical management of mental, neurological and substance use conditions in humanitarian emergencies. Geneva: WHO, 2015.
2Oxfam International. The Right to Survive: the humanitarian challenge for the twenty-first century. 2009.