Guidance for psychologists on international disaster response

The APA Statement on the Role of Psychologists in International Emergencies provides guidance to members who want to assist in the aftermath of disasters abroad

by Public Relations Staff

June 18, 2008 — Following two large-scale international disasters this spring — a cyclone in Myanmar and an earthquake in China — APA members were eager to find out how they could help. In response, the APA Disaster Response Network, in collaboration with the International Affairs office, has developed the APA Statement on the Role of Psychologists in International Emergencies.

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, published in 2007, set an international standard that enabled APA to provide guidance in a way that was not available following the December 2005 tsunami in Indonesia. The APA Statement, based on the IASC Guidelines, is intended to provide official guidance to members who want to help out abroad.

An APA press release announcing the statement's release also offered recommendations for American psychologists living in China and Myanmar.