Preparing Scotland: responding to the psychosocial and mental health needs of people affected by emergencies

A supplement to Preparing Scotland: care for people affected by emergencies.

1 Introduction

The aim of this guidance is to assist Category 1 responder organisations to prepare and implement effective responses to the psychosocial and mental health needs of people who are affected by emergencies.

Although the more serious psychological and mental health impacts should be managed by health care specialists, responders from all agencies can influence the mental wellbeing of those affected. This includes those affected directly, the wider public and also the staff of responder organisations themselves. This guidance is therefore also relevant to anyone who may be involved in the wider Care for People response, including third sector organisations and staff in health and social care services.

The approach recommended is applicable to all ages from children through to older people, and is relevant before, during and after emergencies. It aims to provide a model of care that promotes the resilience and psychological wellbeing of survivors, people who have been bereaved, those affected indirectly and the wider communities, as well as staff of all the responding services.

The guidance recognises that each incident will have unique features, challenges and potential constraints, and it acknowledges that local circumstances may vary significantly. For these reasons the guidance is deliberately flexible and non-prescriptive, so that it can be adapted and applied to specific conditions as is required.

It has been prepared under the auspices of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates and should be used in conjunction with the Scottish Government's documents: Preparing Scotland: Recovering from Emergencies in Scotland and Preparing Scotland: Care for People Affected by Emergencies [2] .

The guidance aims to enable resilience planners to design and plan a coordinated response, and to develop suitable preparatory training. This will involve staff from the health care sector, social care, other statutory responders and the third sector, particularly those with roles in humanitarian assistance. It is expected that the guidance will inform the work of Care for People teams in Local and Regional Resilience Partnerships and that they will apply its recommendations in the development of effective local and regional plans.


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