The WPA strategy to address the mental health consequences of disasters and conflicts has two components: 1) actively training professionals from regions at risk to prevent and manage these consequences, so that they can become themselves trainers for other professionals in their regions and represent a resource for the WPA, the WHO and other UN-related agencies when a new major emergency occurs; 2) partnering with the WHO and other relevant UN-related agencies so that, in the case of a new major emergency, trained psychiatrists can be invited to serve in the affected area as part of a coordinated effort.
In order to implement the first component of this strategy, the WPA organized with the WHO in Geneva in July 2009 a train-the-trainers workshop with the participation of professionals from all regions at risk of the world, selected on the basis of an international call. A second train-the-trainers workshop took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh during the WPA Regional Meeting in January 2010. Further workshops are being organized.
The second component of the strategy has been implemented on the occasion of the Gaza and the Haiti emergencies, with a very positive outcome.
In addition to the above activities, the WPA is organizing basic courses aiming to sensitize psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to the issue of dealing with mental health consequences of disasters and conflicts as part of all its main scientific meetings.