Adaptation and Evaluation of a Disaster Mental Health Intervention for Earthquake Survivors in Kathmandu Valley

Grant awarded: £75,158

Lead organisation: Natural Hazards Center, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado

Partnering organisations: Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Nepal

Project length: 2015-17

Study locations: Kathmandu Valley (Bhaktapur District), Nepal

Principal Investigator: Courtney Welton-Mitchell (Co-PI)
Leah James (Co-PI)

  • group session community mapping_July 2015

  • Credit: Colorado Uni - group session working with natural m

  • Credit: Colorado Uni - group session relaxation exercise_July 2015


On 25th April 2015 Nepal experienced a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, followed by another of 7.3 magnitude on 12th May, 2015. More than 8,000 people have died, and over 480,000 houses have been destroyed (OCHA, May 15th, 2015). Little is known about what type of mental health interventions are effective in the months following this type of disaster, and in countries such as Nepal. This project focuses on expansion of a recent disaster mental health intervention research activities - implemented elsewhere in Nepal with flood-prone communities - to earthquake affected areas in Kathmandu Valley. Drawing on previous work, funded by R2HC, with earthquake survivors in Haiti, the project involves an adaptation of an intervention to ensure that content is specific to earthquake survivors. We will target two distinct populations in Kathmandu Valley: mental health service providers (themselves earthquake survivors) and displaced community members.

Expected outcomes:

Objectives of the disaster mental health intervention, for mental health service providers:
1) increase in knowledge and skills - specifically in integrating mental health knowledge, coping skills, and group support practices into traditional disaster preparedness curriculum, and adapting to cultural context;
2) increase in self-care practices and in repertoire of personal coping skills;
3) decrease in own earthquake related mental health symptoms;
4) decrease in compassion fatigue, and increase in job satisfaction.

For vulnerable community members:
1) decrease in earthquake-related mental health symptoms;
2) increase in coping capacity;
3) increase in capacity to provide lay mental health/peer support to others;
4) increase in engagement in low or no cost disaster preparedness.

Outputs: A disaster mental health intervention manual will be produced (in English and Nepali) for use with earthquake affected communities.

Elrha is hosted by Save the Children, a registered charity in England and Wales (213890) and Scotland (SC039570).

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