Providing mental health and psychosocial support in typhoon affected areas
More than 14 million people continue to be affected by the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda which ravaged areas of the Visayas when it struck the Philippines on 8 November 2013. Long after the ensuing emergency situation has passed, storm survivors are likely to be faced with a range of mental health concerns. Since the typhoon, the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban City receives a minimum of 25 patients presenting with severe mental health disorders. WHO works alongside national and international entities to organize activities such as training on psychological first aid for emergency response, equipping local health professionals with skills to recognize the signs of these disorders, and diagnose and treat mental conditions using WHO's Mental Health Gap Action Programme while ensuring that essential psychotropic medicines are available. Mental health and psychosocial support are essential to the rehabilitation of health systems in affected areas.