Enhancing community resilience in the acute aftermath of disaster: Evaluation of a disaster mental health intervention

This was a disaster mental health intervention research project funded by ELRHA (DFID and Wellcome Trust), from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015 in partnership with the lead agency, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado-Boulder, USA. The project aimed to examine the effectiveness of a culturally-adapted mental health intervention designed to lessen the impact of a natural disaster among disaster-prone communities in Nepal. The project was based in two districts namely, Kailali and Kathmandu.

In Kailali, the project focused on flood victims and was implemented in three phases. The first phase involved collecting data on the community’s level of disaster preparedness and their psychosocial and mental health status (baseline data collection). This was then followed by a three day mental health intervention which focused on how people should prepare for a disaster and how to improve their psychosocial and mental health status through various coping skills, relaxation techniques and team building exercises. The second and third phases took place after the emergency and involved evaluating the effectiveness of the intervention at multiple time points. This included assessing whether the intervention increased engagement in disaster preparedness, and helped the community’s mental health and psychosocial status after the disaster. A similar intervention was implemented focusing on earthquake survivors in two largely affected areas of Bhaktapur district.

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