Coordination of psychosocial activities at the Jaffna District Level in Sri Lanka

In response to pressing needs, a mechanism for coordinating psychosocial activities evolved organically in the Jaffna peninsula of Sri Lanka following the Asian tsunami of 2004. The Mental Health Task Force attempted to coordinate both governmental and nongovernmental organizations, local and international, which were involved in psychosocial work. In time, the District Psychosocial Forum took over the role of coordination under the direction of the Regional Director of Health Services and District Psychiatrist. With the resurgence of the civil war, the forum has had to respond to the urgent psychosocial needs arising from the conflict situation. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) delineates guidelines for coordinating psychosocial responses of agencies to emergencies due to natural disasters and war that was remarkably similar to the development functioning of the Mental Health Task Force and Psychosocial Forum and their experiences and the lessons learnt.

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Krishnakumar, G; Sivayokan, S; Somasundaram, D