On 8–11 December the UNU International Institute for Global Health co-organized a workshop on Building Individual and Organizational Capacity for Psychological Intervention after Disasters in the Asia and Pacific Region. Held in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, China, the workshop was organized in collaboration with the International Union of Psychological Science, the Chinese Psychological Society, the International Council for Science Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and Integrated Research on Disaster Risk. Five invited speakers engaged participants from 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and twenty local participants. The workshop was an applied and timely addition to the UN Expert Group Meeting on Mental Well-being, Disability and Disaster Risk Reduction organized by UNU in Tokyo on 27–28 November 2014.
Using international scientific and applied expertise of the participating agencies, this capacity building workshop helped researchers, educators and practitioners in the Asia and Pacific region to have a better understanding of, and ability to respond to, the mental health consequences of regional disasters. The focus was on events that have a tremendous negative impact on large sections of the population in the affected area, such as natural catastrophes, technological failure, warfare or pandemics. The workshop was unique in also giving special consideration to the needs and interventions for children and adolescents in disasters — an often overlooked group.
In addition to focusing on the science needed to enhance the psychological interventions in the Asia-Pacific region, the workshop included sustained theoretical and applied research methods.