Enhancing Community Resilience in the Acute Aftermath of Disaster: Evaluation of a Disaster Mental Health Intervention

Grant awarded: £236,427

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

Partnering organisations: Soulaje Lespri Moun (Haiti); Transcultural Psychosocial Organization-Nepal (Nepal)

Project length: 2014-2016

Study locations: Haiti and Nepal

Principal Investigator: Courtney Welton-Mitchell and Leah James, Natural Hazards Centre, Institute of Behavioural Science, University of Colorado.

  • Credit: Colorado Uni - group session community mapping_July 2015

  • Credit: Colorado Uni - group session relaxation exercise_July 2015

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

  • Credit: Colorado University: damaged homes at project area - July 2015

  • Nepal Clinical Team

  • Intervention Training - string exercise for community cohesion

  • Mental Health service provider training participants


This study aims to evaluate a culturally-adapted community-based disaster mental health intervention. The intervention is designed to mitigate the impacts of an acute natural disaster among disaster-prone communities in Haiti (hurricanes, floods, earthquakes) and Nepal (floods, landslides). The study will use a longitudinal randomized controlled trial design to determine if the intervention is effective in achieving its goal of enhancing community resilience by improving mental health and increasing engagement in disaster preparedness and response, including enabling community members to care for themselves and provide assistance to others when a disaster strikes.

Expected outcomes:

The study will help build evidence on the effectiveness of low-cost, low-intensive disaster mental health interventions easily adapted to specific cultural contexts. It will strengthen understanding of how to - mitigate the mental health and social consequences of disasters, and increase engagement in disaster preparedness and response behaviours. It will also increase understanding of the role of cultural factors in post-disaster mental health and in engagement in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery behaviors.


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

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