CARE International and CENDEP convened the
Thematic Session on Shelter and Health at the Global Shelter Cluster's annual meeting on June 9th 2021
Representatives from Health, WaSH, Shelter and MHPSS discussed the multiple connections between Shelter and physical and mental health.
In May 2021 we hosted an online Learning Event which explored the intersections between Humanitarian Shelter and Mental Health.
The first session, on May 20th, explored WHY humanitarian Shelter and Settlements practitioners should understand the connections between living conditions, physical and mental health better. Case studies from CARE, CRS, NRC, ARCHIVE Global and IOM illustrated some of these connections. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) experts led discussions on the importance of MHPSS as a cross cutting issue.
The second session, on May 28th, delved deeper into HOW Shelter and Settlements practitioners can adopt an MHPSS approach in their programming, with the aim of improving wellbeing.
Shelter and MHPSS practitioners reflected together on possible next steps for more holistic and integrated Shelter and Settlements programming which supports people's mental health and psychosocial wellbeing.
Recordings of these sessions are available below, with a full agenda of the Learning Event.
Watch this space for a full written report!
In August 2020 we published Towards Healthier Homes in Humanitarian Settings, a report following the first Shelter and Health Learning Event in May 2020.
Please download and share the link!
One strand of the research related to the ‘wider impacts’ workstream of the project is concerned with the health aspects of shelter/emergency and transitional housing and on the beneficial impacts that shelter assistance could have on people recovering from natural disaster and conflict. We are aiming to gather knowledge and expertise from others in the shelter sector, as well as those in other humanitarian and development/public health sectors.
The Global Shelter Cluster increasingly recognises the huge numbers affected by shelter and settlement-related health issues (such as respiratory infections linked to household air pollution) that contribute to the burden of disease in crisis situations. Currently, rebuilding guidelines focus on ‘safer’ building regarding earthquake/storm resistance, sidelining or even ignoring potentially important health issues. Perhaps the shelter sector should be incorporating relevant health messages into emergency response and its guidance for disaster-affected populations who are rebuilding?
Another important area of research is the connection between humanitarian shelter and mental health. We are investigating this through our second Shelter and Health Learning Event in May 2021.
Project team members Sue Webb and Emma Weinstein Sheffield published a blog in April 2020 on the implications of COVID-19 for shelter assistance. The current crisis has highlighted already-existing connections between poor shelter and health.
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