Mental well-being, disability, risk communication and disasters

Outline
Team
  • Expected start date:
    2014•01•01
    Expected end date:
    2015•12•31
    Institute:
    UNU-IIGH
    Project Status:
    Closed
    Project Type:
    Research
    Project Manager :
    Atsuro Tsutsumi

    It is estimated that approximately eight hundreds thousands people die annually due to suicide which is higher than the number of death related to war or murder. Among young people, suicide is the second leading cause of death. Depression is the largest single cause of disability worldwide (11 per cent of all years lived with disability globally). In disaster settings, protection of persons with mental and intellectual disabilities is often neglected. In fact, mental health after (nuclear) disasters is becoming a primary concern of the international community, as indicated by studies by international organizations and papers in scientific peer-review journals. Previous studies in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl repeatedly detected elevated mood and anxiety symptoms and suicidal ideation among inhabitants in severely affected regions and clean-up workers who worked in such areas. Reported risk factors included psychosocial conditions such as fear and anxiety related to the disaster itself, distress associated with evacuation, fear of invisible or latent radiological harm, social turmoil, and difficulty to keep social support and isolation. Therefore, it is critically important to include psychosocial aspect into disaster risk reduction for sustainable development and recovery.