Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction: Appraising Disaster Mental Health Research as if Risk Mattered

Dr Lennart Reifels, Prof Michel Dückers




Assigned to session

1.06 Jeanne Roos, 28-09-2023, 13:30 - 14:45


Crisis, disaster or pandemic related
Public health, prevention, early interventions


Since disaster risk reduction requires efforts from multiple disciplines, it is obvious that knowledge development should not be limited to single disciplines either and address concepts such as disaster risk, hazards, exposure, vulnerability, and capacity jointly. This line of reasoning applies to the mental health dimension of disaster risk reduction as well. Yet, an assessment of 18 research contributions to a seminal Special Issue on “disaster mental health risk reduction” (DMHRR), learns that the emphasis of authors is typically limited to a selection of these concepts. Similarly selective is the focus on different levels (primarily individual and community) and Sendai Priority Actions (mostly “understanding disaster risk”, followed by “enhancing disaster preparedness”) as well as WHO Health EDRM functions (such as “information and knowledge management” and “monitoring and evaluation”). Placing the concept of disaster risk at the heart of DMHRR research enables us to bring together the different facets of research contributions and to generate a combined, arguably even integrated view on disaster risk reduction and mental health. This can assist and encourage stakeholders from policy, practice, and research internationally to keep joining forces on behalf of a successful integration of mental health and psychosocial support into disaster risk reduction.


Lennart Reifels

Michel Dückers