Addressing the psychological needs of populations affected by crises has become a prominent concern in international humanitarian assistance. The need for this approach is supported by research findings, that people closest to disasters are more at risk for physical and psychological disorders, harmed mental functioning, and antisocial behaviour.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies addresses three target groups who would benefit from information on stress reactions and concrete psychological support: a) the vulnerable people affected by disaster or living under stressful conditions, b) volunteers and staff engaged in disaster response and community programmes, and c) expatriate delegates.

Psychological support applies across the range of humanitarian activities, being relevant to disaster preparedness, disaster response, first aid, emergency health and development programmes such as community health, HIV/AIDS and social welfare projects.

Download: Psychological support policy

Publication date:

Document status: Final


Document data

National Societies
Health, Psychosocial support
Document type
Policy document