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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 21-25

Defining mental health and psychosocial in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Guidelines: constructive criticisms from psychiatry and anthropology

resident in psychiatry at Yale University, Department of Psychiatry, New Haven, USA. He is supported by a Minority Fellows Program grant from the APA/SAMHSA. There is no personal nor professional conflict of interest to disclose

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The development of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Guidelines heralded an international achievement by gathering mental health and psychosocial professionals to evolve common minimum responses during emergencies. However, one continuing contentious issue has been the definitions of mental health and psychosocial support. The absence of these formal and agreed definitions may well interfere with coordinating minimum responses. This paper explores theoretical differences in these fields, and presents alternative definitions and solutions through a review of the psychiatric and anthropological literature.

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