Global & Disaster Medicine

Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGAP-HIG): Clinical management of mental, neurological and substance use conditions in humanitarian emergencies.

World Health Organization and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGAP-HIG): Clinical management of mental, neurological and substance use conditions in humanitarian emergencies. Geneva: WHO, 2015.

The target group for WHO work on mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies is any population exposed to extreme stressors, such as refugees, internally displaced persons, disaster survivors and terrorism-, war- or genocide-exposed populations.

The WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse emphasizes that the number of persons exposed to extreme stressors is large and that exposure to extreme stressors is a risk factor for mental health and social problems. The Department’s work on mental health in emergencies focuses mostly on resource-poor countries, where most populations exposed to natural disasters and war live.

 

Management of physical health conditions in adults with severe mental disorders

Preventable physical health conditions lead to premature mortality in people with severe mental disorders, reducing their life span by 10-20 years. The majority of these premature deaths are due to physical health conditions.

The physical health of people with severe mental disorders is commonly overlooked, not only by themselves and people around them, but also by health systems, resulting in crucial physical health disparities and limited access to health services. Many lives can be saved by ensuring that people with severe mental disorders receive treatment.

WHO’s “Guidelines on management of physical health conditions in adults with severe mental disorders” provide evidence-based, up-to-date recommendations to practitioners on how to recognize and manage comorbid physical and mental health conditions.

 


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