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IASC, Inter-Agency Standing Committee
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) is publishing new guidelines on mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings, which focus on using local community resources, social networks and social support for dealing with large scale disasters. These new guidelines include humanitarian agencies and other social support systems along with mental health workers as active participants in promoting mental health. Armed conflicts and natural disasters cause significant psychological and social suffering to affected populations. The psychological and social impacts of emergencies may be acute in the short term, but they can also undermine the long-term mental health and psychosocial well-being of the affected population. One of the priorities in emergencies is thus to protect and improve people’s mental health and psychological wellbeing. Achieving this priority requires coordinated action among all government and non-governmental humanitarian actors. The IASC guidelines aim at providing a multi-sectoral, interagency framework that identifies useful practices and clarifies how different approaches to mental health and psychological support complement one another.