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Advisory Committee on Response to Emergencies

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With a growing number of global emergency situations and in the immediate context of the COVID pandemic, the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) established an Advisory Committee on Responses to Emergencies (ACRE) in May 2020.  It aimed to encourage WPA Member Societies to work together to build their capacity to protect the mental health of populations and mental health workers during crisis situations.


ACRE brought together the leaders of several interested Member Societies to facilitate practical and concrete support to Member Societies in need and provide education and information to all. It is now restructured for the current needs and aims to continue building links with and between Member Societies to foster education, information collection and the development of local, national and international strategies to cope with the mental health consequences of emergencies.  


 From 2020-2023, ACRE carried out a number of tasks including:

  • Initiating an emergency assistance fund

  • Supporting child and adolescent mental health outreach in Nepal

  • Providing aid for personal protective equipment in Ukraine and other regions

  • Supporting a telephone advisory service for practitioners in Afghanistan

  • Setting up and continuously updating an “Online Trauma Resource Centre” to support those experiencing traumatic situations (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts and other disasters in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Middle East, North Asia and other regions)

  • Developing education resources on the mental health consequences of emergencies


During 2020 ACRE established two expert sub-groups. One focused on telepsychiatry and eMental health initiatives, while the other provided information, education, and support for services addressing mental ill-health.


Today, ACRE is made up of a small number of distinguished colleagues carefully selected for their expertise while ensuring diversity. The group is evolving into a coordinating body that advises the WPA President on action related to emergency situations.


The Committee’s advice to the President may relate to emergencies such as pandemics, natural or human made disasters and conflicts, and include WPA’s interest in assessing emergency needs, providing information and education, or mobilising resources through various Member Societies and partners.


The WPA aims to structure its activities according to the following EDIT criteria: 
E, Equality across genders, ages and ethnicities 
D, Development from childhood to adulthood and beyond 
I, Inclusion of under-represented groups 
T, Transcultural awareness and perspectives 

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