During the Self-recovery research project, we have been working at raising awareness of the many ways that living conditions and humanitarian action can affect health. A safe and secure home contributes to both physical and mental health.
There was this kind of moment, there was a critical takeaway that resonated across the Zoom experience, and it was when we realised that the living and shelter conditions during displacement have a comparable impact than the trigger of a crisis or a disaster. And I think we can take that and further advance with it.
I think something that came very strongly out of the meetings and that the report also highlights is that the shelter colleagues are already doing a lot of mental health and psychosocial support by providing those conditions when it's possible ... I think this is a very good first step for our colleagues, to have a good resource to work with.
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.
Mindful Sheltering is the report of the Learning Event. Read below to find out more!
Mindful Sheltering explores the connections between living conditions and mental health and psychosocial well-being includes summaries of presentations by experts in Shelter and Settlements programming, MHPSS and development. It also examines how humanitarian Shelter and Settlements assistance impacts mental health and well-being and the importance of healthy shelter for long-term recovery. Mindful Sheltering highlights that a person’s mental health and psychosocial well-being is affected as much - or even more - by their living conditions as it is by their experiences of crisis and disaster. Shelter is a determinant of mental health and well-being in all emergencies; inadequate shelter is among the ‘daily stressors’ that contribute to mental distress for individuals and communities and is detrimental to early recovery and eventual development. Collaboration between Shelter and Settlements and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) as well as other humanitarian sectors is necessary to ensure positive outcomes for people recovering from humanitarian crises. The report contains recommendations to inform holistic humanitarian responses and ensure wide positive impacts of post-crisis rebuilding.
We launched Mindful Sheltering, the report of the Shelter and Mental Health Learning event on 14th September. If you missed it, you can watch the 30 minute video here:
Project team members Emma Weinstein Sheffield and Susannah Webb have written an article in the new 8th edition of Shelter Projects which articulates the importance of humanitarian Shelter and Settlement practitioners being more aware of the connections between homes, living conditions and health. Download below.
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 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 the report 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.
Copyright © 2020 Self-recovery - All rights reserved.
UKRI grant number EP/T015160/1
Oxford Brookes University