Technical Note: Linking Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) - Practical Tools, Approaches and Case Studies

Inter-Agency Standing Committee
Publication language
Date published
15 Mar 2021
Tools, guidelines and methodologies
Development & humanitarian aid, Disaster preparedness, resilience and risk reduction, Disaster preparedness, COVID-19, Epidemics & pandemics, Psychosocial support, humanitarian action, Humanitarian Principles, Inclusion, Protection, Social protection

Recently, the approach to hazardous events has undergone a considerable shift, away from reactive activities focused on managing and responding to events and towards a more proactive process of emergency and disaster risk management (DRM). The ultimate goal of this shift in focus is to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risks, a process known as disaster risk reduction (DRR), while strengthening individual, community, societal and global resilience.

This Technical Note on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS): Practical Tools, Approaches and Case Studies was developed to assist humanitarian aid, development and disaster risk management organizations, national and local governments and community actors within and across sectors with the delivery of a priority set of actions to reduce suffering and improve mental health and psychosocial well-being through integration with risk management perspectives and approaches that link prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. Additionally, it was designed to assist governmental actors, domestic sources of financing and donors in understanding and supporting activities focused on MHPSS as part of DRR and sectoral programmes. It was developed in concordance with and was inspired by WHO’s Health EDRM Framework and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)’s Words into Action (WiA) guidelines for the many aspects of implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. Further guidance on implementing DRR as part of humanitarian action can be found in the UNDRR Recommendations for the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (UNDRR, 2020).

It must be stated that this technical note is not intended to serve as a universal approach and should instead be used as a guide that requires local and contextual adaptation. Furthermore, the elements it contains need to be implemented through collaboration between a number of stakeholders and with local individuals and communities. No single agency or actor can be expected to implement all of the actions discussed in this technical note. Potential stakeholder roles and responsibilities are listed in Table 1.

Inter-Agency Standing Committee