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close this bookMental Health of Populations Exposed to Biological and Chemical Weapons (WHO; 2005; 8 pages) View the PDF document
View the documentBackground
View the documentGeneral principles
View the documentAcute emergency phase
View the documentEarly social interventions
View the documentEarly mental health interventions
View the documentPost-emergency phase
View the documentGeneral social interventions in the post-emergency phase
View the documentGeneral mental health interventions in the post-emergency phase
View the documentConclusion
View the documentReferences

Mental Health of Populations Exposed to Biological and Chemical Weapons



This document has been prepared to be read as a stand-alone guide and responds to a request made by the 55th World Health Assembly through resolution WHA55.16 to provide tools and support for Member States to address the psychosocial consequences of emergencies caused by biological or chemical weapons. This document is a supplement to the second edition of the WHO publication Public Health Response to Biological and Chemical Weapons: WHO Guidance (2nd edition) (2004), which is accessible at the following Web address: http://www.who.int/csr/delibepi-demics/biochemguide/en/index.html.

This document has been written by Drs Mark van Ommeren and Shekhar Saxena and includes the main points of (a) Norwood A. Biological Terrorism: Psychological Consequences and Their Management, 2002 (unpublished document) and (b) WHO. Mental Health in Emergencies: Mental and Social Aspects of Populations Exposed to Extreme Stressors. WHO: Geneva, 2003 and is consistent with (c) the ‘mental and social aspects of health standard’ of the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere Project, 2004).

The following colleagues are gratefully acknowledged for advice: Drs Thom Bornemann, Hugo Cohen, Ottorino Cosivi, Cleto DiGiovanni, Baruch Fischhoff, Julian Ford, Harry Holloway, Srinivasa Murthy, Ann Norwood, James Pennebaker, Michael Phillips, Ben Sheppard, Carlos Sluzki, Robert Ursano, Xiangdong Wang, and Simon Wessely.

For feedback and further information, please contact the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization, Geneva (contact person: Dr Mark van Ommeren; vanommerenm@who.int; fax +41-22-7914160).

Mental Health: Evidence and Research
Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

in collaboration with

WHO Inter-Cluster Working Group on Preparedness for and response to natural occurrence, accidental release or deliberate use of biological and chemical agents or radionuclear materials that affect health.

World Health Organization Geneva

Mental Health of Populations Exposed to Biological and Chemical Weapons

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