According to the World Health Organization, depression is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease, particularly among people who have experienced war, deprivation or disaster.

In fact, the disease that robs the most adults of the most years of productive life is not AIDS, not heart disease, not cancer. It is depression.  Furthermore WHO goes on to estimate that three-quarters of the world’s neuropsychiatric disorders are in low-income or low-middle income countries.  Mental health services are often given a low priority in countries with limited health care resources. 

In major disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. and the Earthquake & Tsunami in Japan, the traumatic effects linger long after the event has faded from public view.  We have supported a variety of mental health programs that provide comfort and healing for survivors, helping them cope with loss and rebuild their lives. 

  • Following Hurrican Sandy, many of the AmeriCares grants supported training for mental health professionals working one-on-one with storm victims.
  • In post-earthquake Japan, depression and post-traumatic stress remain a significant health concern, particularly among the displaced.  Our Japan team has developed and supported a number of innovative approaches to counter depression and isolation such as the Community Gardens Project.
  • Along the Gulf Coast of the U.S. after Hurricane Katrina and the Oil Spill, we supported partners in counseling people who had lost their homes and livelihoods.  Our experience with the health care crisis in Louisiana and Mississippi has helped us build programs with local partners for more counseling and psychosocial services. Learn more about our new U.S. Mental Health Initiative External Link
  • In Chile, we addressed one of the early unmet health needs after the 2010 Earthquake by supporting counseling for survivors.