Few studies exploring the actual practices implemented for long-term mental health and psychosocial support after a natural disaster have been published. This study aimed to reveal (1) the types of activities that were actually provided as mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in the long-term phase after the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) and (2) the problems that must be addressed to provide post-disaster MHPSS activities.
An open-ended questionnaire was sent to organizations in the Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures that were potentially involved in providing MHPSS to communities affected by the GEJE. The organizations were asked to describe their activities and the problems that needed to be addressed to provide these support activities. The collected statements were analysed using content analysis with NVivo11.
The support activities conducted to provide MHPSS in the long-term phase after the catastrophe were diverse and classified into 7 major categories, namely, (1) one-on-one support for individuals in need of assistance, (2) support for collective activities, (3) support around living conditions and income, (4) increasing public awareness about mental health, (5) human resource development to improve response capabilities for MHPSS, (6) support for MHPSS providers, and (7) facilitating collaborations among the MHPSS activities provided to affected communities. Problems with human resources and funding were the most frequently mentioned concerns among the organizations participating in the survey.
The establishment of systems to collect and share sufficient and relevant knowledge and to coordinate organizations for long-term post-disaster postventions would be desirable.