This study is based on Médecins Sans Frontières’ experience of providing mental health care after the 2013 typhoon
Severe mental disorders are often neglected following a disaster. Based on Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) experience of providing mental health (MH) care after the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines, we describe the monthly volume of MH activities and beneficiaries; characteristics of people seeking MH care; profile and outcomes of people with severe mental disorders; prescription of psychotropic medication; and factors facilitating the identification and management of individuals with severe mental disorders.
A retrospective review of programme data was carried out.
In total, 172 persons sought MH care. Numbers peaked three months into MSF’s intervention and decreased thereafter. Of 134 (78%) people with complete data, 37 (28%) had a severe mental disorder, often characterised by psychotic symptoms (n=24, 64%) and usually unrelated to the typhoon (n=32, 86%). 4 people (11%) were discharged after successful treatment, 2 (5%) moved out of the area, 20 (54%) were referred for follow-up on cessation of MSF activities and 10 (27%) were lost-to-follow-up. Psychotropic treatment was prescribed for 33 (75%) people with mental disorders and for 11 with non-severe mental disorders.
This study illustrates how actors can play an important role in providing MH care for people with severe mental disorders in the aftermath of a disaster.
This research was supported by the UK Department for International Development’s Operational Research Capacity Building Programme led by the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union)
Ana Cecilia Andrade de Moraes Weintrauba, Mariana Gaspar Garciaa, Elisa Birria, Nathalie Severya, Marie-Christine Ferira, Engy Alic, Katie Tayler-Smith, Dinah Palmera Naderad,Mark Van Ommerene (2016) Not forgetting severe mental disorders in humanitarian emergencies: a descriptive study from the Philippines. International Health. 2016 Sep; 8(5): 336–344. doi: 10.1093/inthealth/ihw032https://dx.doi.org/10.1093%2Finthealth%2Fihw032