College resources for international disasters

This page includes links to resources for use by clinicians and carers who may be able to help others in relation to the unfolding crises around the world.

The RCPsych has built up a body of knowledge from the response it has provided to a number of international emergencies. Humanitarian emergencies are caused by a number of factors, including natural disasters, political upheaval and acts of violence. When responding to an international disaster the College will work in ways that are respectful of the peoples and culture of regions and nations in which we are working, and our work will respect the needs of patients and always be person-centred.

The RCPsych will put in place an emergency response plan when the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) launches an appeal.

Those who can are invited to donate money to Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

For international disasters where there is no active appeal in place, money can be donated to DEC member charities.

Members of our International Advisory Committee (IAC) are in contact with national and international agencies to ascertain what practical support the College can offer, many have responded and the College is working with them to deliver psychological first aid (PFA) training. 

The College is grateful to the many members who have offered to help.


Where There Is No Psychiatrist by Vikram Patel is a mental health care manual written for community health workers, primary care nurses, social workers and primary care doctors, particularly in low-resource settings.

This guide gives the reader a basic understanding of mental illness by describing more than thirty clinical problems associated with mental illness and uses a problem-solving approach to guide the reader through their assessment and management.

Access 'Where There is No Psychiatrist'

The world faces an unprecedented number of humanitarian emergencies. The conflict in Ukraine and flooding in Pakistan are both crises requiring global humanitarian assistance.

This eLearning module will help psychiatrists have a better understanding of their role in complex emergencies, in keeping with international guidelines. 

This module is available free of charge to members and non members.

eLearning Hub: Complex humanitarian emergencies: mental health and psychosocial response

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) was created by United Nations General Assembly in 1991 and is the longest-standing and highest-level humanitarian coordination forum. 

The IASC have created internationally recognised Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings

The conditions refugees experience during their journeys and how they're received at their destinations will determine their health outcomes as well as the health of those living in host communities. To support health professionals and humanitarians, CRC Press is offering free online access to the Handbook of Refugee Health. This book provides a framework to identify and approach health needs, from basic elements like service mapping and initial interventions to more complex elements of ongoing healthcare. It also discusses associated areas, including human rights and law, public health, medical anthropology, and cultural awareness.

Handbook of Refugee Health for healthcare professionals and humanitarians providing care to forced migrants

General Principles of Psychological First Aid webinar – 30 March 2022

Dr Peter Hughes FRCPsych and Vitalii Klymchuk, Community Mental Health Services Coordinator at MH4U, presented an overview of the principles of PFA and its application in crisis settings.

Watch the webinar

Download the slides

Free Members Webinar – 27 May 2021

On 27 May 2021, we delivered a webinar on the principles and practice of Psychological First Aid.

This webinar focussed on the devastating effect of COVID-19 in India and the wider South Asian region but the principles discussed apply to all humanitarian crises  

Watch the webinar

Psychological First Aid: Guide for Field Workers

This guide covers psychological first aid which involves humane, supportive and practical help to fellow human beings suffering serious crisis events. It is written for people in a position to help others who have experienced an extremely distressing event. It gives a framework for supporting people in ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities.

Translations are available amongst many others in Ukrainian, Romanian, Russian, and Serbian.

Psychological first aid: Guide for field workers

    Information in English

    Our information is written by doctors in collaboration with patients and carers. It is checked by patients and carers to make sure it is clear and easy to understand. Information on other problems and disorders can be found in the mental health section of our website. 


    We are able to provide translations of our resources thanks to the work of volunteers, who have been passionate about making sure that our information is available in a range of languages. Some of our more recent translations are produced by the non-profit CLEAR Global and their volunteer translators Translators Without Borders.

    Information in Arabic

    Information in Hebrew

    Information in Kurdish

    Information in Russian

    Information in Sindhu

    Information in Turkish

    Information in Ukrainian

    Information in Urdu

      RCPsych mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide Webinar – 5 April 2022

      Dr Peter Hughes FRCPsych and Vitalii Klymchuk, Community Mental Health Services Coordinator at MH4U, presented an overview of the WHO’s mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide, which is a mental health toolkit designed for emergency settings.

      Watch the webinar

      Download the slides

      The Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry have gathered together a range of information for the general public, for professionals who work with children and for specialist clinicians which can be viewed below.

      Information for children and young people about the war in Ukraine

      How to talk to children and young people about war

      Information for parents, carers and professionals about trauma

      Supporting children and families affected by war and displacement

      Accessing other services for displaced children and families

      Language support – Translation and interpreting is an online platform for people concerned with Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in situations of emergencies and adversity. Membership is free and open to the wide range of people and organisations engaged with mental health and psychosocial support.

      The Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Network

      The College Library provides access to eBooks including this volume. To access please use the eBooks tab in the journals and databases search to look for ' Disaster Psychiatry: Readiness Evaluation and Treatment'.