Program Related News Archive

Public Forum: Disasters, Mental Well-being and Disability-Promoting Resilience After for All

story from Tokyo Development Learning Center

On November 28, 2014, in Tokyo, Japan,  UNU in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Bank Tokyo Development Learning Center, and the National Information Center for Disaster Mental Health, Japan, organized the public forum “Disasters, Mental Well-being and Disability: Promoting Resilience for All”. The forum explored how to integrate mental well-being and disability issues into disaster risk management, drawing on experiences from Japan and other countries. Speakers from several UN agencies, NGOs and academia discussed this challenge in relation to norms and standards, institutional arrangements, governance and practice. In particular, the event focused on how the process to formulate a global post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction can incorporate issues of mental well-being and disability.

Research has revealed a high incidence of mood and anxiety symptoms as well as suicidal ideation among inhabitants in areas affected by disasters. Persons with mental or intellectual disabilities face multiple challenges and barriers in all the phases of disaster which gets augmented with misconception, stigma, discrimination and other human rights violations. Nevertheless, mental well-being and disability have often been neglected in international discussion and policy processes related to disasters. The public forum called for greater attention in order to build resilience to disasters.