The impact of exclusion from preparedness for people with psychosocial disabilities

People with psychosocial disabilities are amongst those at highest risk during and after disaster events. This is for a range of reasons, including that people with psychosocial disabilities: experience significant human rights abuses in most settings; are subject to pervasive negative attitudes, marginalisation and are often excluded from Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities.

Many thousands of people with psychosocial disabilities continue to be detained in institutions and/or shackled or locked up in the community against their will. They are often forgotten altogether during disaster planning or response, including during evacuation.

A further danger is that institutionalisation of people with psychosocial disabilities may rise after a disaster event. This is due to an ongoing lack of psychosocial supports and services provided in the community which are based on free, informed consent. There is an urgent need to consider and address the needs of those with psychosocial disabilities.