Attending a ‘Helping Professionals Training’ after the Disasters in Puerto Rico
- Community self-help and social support should be strengthened, for example by creating or re-establishing community groups in which members solve problems collaboratively and engage in emergency relief or learning new skills, while ensuring the involvement of people who are vulnerable and marginalized, including people with mental disorders.
- Psychological first aid offers first-line emotional and practical support to people experiencing acute distress due to a recent event and should be made available by field workers, including health staff, teachers or trained volunteers.
- Basic clinical mental health care covering priority conditions (e.g. depression, psychotic disorders, epilepsy, alcohol and substance abuse) should be provided at every health care facility by trained and supervised general health staff.
- Psychological interventions (e.g. problem-solving interventions, group interpersonal therapy, interventions based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy) for people impaired by prolonged distress should be offered by specialists or by trained and supervised community workers in the health and social sector.
- Protecting and promoting the rights of people with severe mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities is especially critical in humanitarian emergencies. This includes visiting, monitoring, and supporting people at psychiatric facilities and residential homes.
- Links and referral mechanisms need to be established between mental health specialists, general health-care providers, community-based support and other services (e.g. schools, social services, and emergency relief services such as those providing food, water, and housing/shelter).