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by Dr Peter
Published: May 2021
The world faces an unprecedented number of humanitarian
emergencies. There were 79.5 million forcibly displaced people,
including 26 million refugees, at the end of 2019: the highest
numbers ever (United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], 2020). Natural disasters
such as earthquakes and tsunamis are occurring alongside increasing
incidences of flooding, hurricanes and cyclones, which seems likely
to be in some way linked to climate change. In 2017, there were 30
reported crises requiring global humanitarian assistance – double
the number of the previous decade (United
Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Emergencies stretch services that may already
be weak, but also bring out the immense resilience of people facing
adversity. The mental health and psychosocial response to complex
humanitarian emergencies takes a public health perspective in which
communal, psychosocial supports are emphasised, as well as primary
healthcare and specialist services. The aim is to enhance community
and individual resilience, as well as appropriate therapeutic
This module will help psychiatrists have a better
understanding of their role in complex emergencies, in keeping with
international guidelines. We will:
The module will stretch the skills of
volunteer UK psychiatrists. It will change them personally and
professionally. There can be few things, however, that are as
rewarding and transformative as this type of work.
If you like this module, you may also be interested in:
psychiatry by Dr Arabinda Narayan Chowdhury
response to epidemics – lessons from Ebola applied to COVID-19
(podcast) by Dr Peter Hughes
health care in low resource environments (podcast) by Dr Vikram
health needs of refugees (podcast) by Ruth Wells
Download take-home notes to print and