National Disaster Management Authority Government of India

Indicators of Psychosocial Support

Indicators of Psychosocial Support and Mental Health Services (PSSMHS) after Disasters

Objectives and Indicators for measuring the impact of PSSMHS:

Objective 1

Improved psycho-social well-being of the target group as measured by level of awareness of personal and community issues regarding pro-social behaviour, cognitive/emotional functioning,

performance of daily tasks (livelihood), coping, self-esteem and self-efficacy.


•Change in the proportion of target group, displaying culturally defined pro-social behaviour.

•Change in the proportion of target group, able to express fears or concerns and seek care from others during stress.

•Change in the proportion of target population who express a locally defined "optimal" level [on a measurement scale, score X or higher] of a sense of control in their daily functioning.

•Change in the proportion of target population using positive coping strategies, during times of

•stress–as defined by local cultural norms.

Notes on Methods for Measurement:

While various standardized quantitative measurement scales are available, most are not yet validated cross-culturally or within contexts of crisis, emergency, or displacement. However, they can be adapted and utilized, and it is best if such measures are developed locally and validated with complementary qualitative data collection and analysis. Where feasible, and where resources permit, it is best to work with local communities and different beneficiary groups within communities in order to derive locally defined measures of functioning, coping, pro-social behaviour, and other measures of psycho-social well-being.

Objective 2

Increased capacity of families/households, community organizations and service providers to support community members to cope with stress/trauma.


•Change in the percentage of families/households, community organizations or service providers using positive coping strategies during times of stress.

•Change in the proportion of opportunities for marginalised groups.

•Change in the proportion of local service providers with capacity to support target group to cope with stress/trauma in a specific way.

•Change in proportion of citizens engaged in activities that support families and households to cope with stress/trauma.

•Change in proportion of community leaders and/or community groups with an adequate [or desirable, or optimal] level of knowledge and understanding regarding psycho-social needs and the elements of appropriate community responses.

Notes on Methods for Measurement:

Capacity can be measured quantitatively, as in the indicators mentioned above, or through qualitative measures. Individuals and the target groups may display a capacity to provide support to others in ways that are measured through variety and depth of creative responses. Such qualitative measures might be gathered through observation as well as open-ended questions and discussions with individuals or groups.

Objective 3

Enhanced awareness among local authorities, NGOs, communities and community leaders of protection principles and rights, risks and appropriate psycho-social responses for children, families and at-risk groups, with a view to create a healthier environment for social integration.


•Change in the proportion of local authorities, NGOs, communities and community leaders aware of protection principles, rights and risks faced by the target group.

•Change in the number of protection, rights and advocacy groups formally registered and active in the community.

•Change in the per cent knowledge improvement in protection, rights and risk issues among local authorities, NGOs, communities and community leaders.

•Change in the number of response mechanisms (i.e., community action plans, interventions, information sharing) to address protection, rights and risk issues initiated by local authorities, NGOs or community groups.

Notes on Methods for Measurement:

Change in the level of knowledge and the results of having acquired knowledge about protection, rights, and risks can be measured quantitatively through questionnaires and observation. If the budget and other resources allow, the important dimension of quality of enhanced awareness should not be overlooked. Qualitative methods, such as open ended interviews and various mapping/visual/spatial exercises with local authorities, community members, children, etc. can offer a fuller measure of achievement of this objective. Methods might include: asking leaders in a relief camp to draw a diagram of the protection risks women face while carrying on their daily tasks (e.g., gathering firewood, collecting water, picking up food rations); or encouraging various community members to make an outline using a pie-chart and then analyse the time youth typically spend in the company of adults, peers, or in situations that might put them at increased risk. In the process of carrying out such exercises, we can derive a qualitative measure of the depth of understanding of protection issues.

Objective 4

Identification and reduction of threats to the protection and psycho-social well-being of the target group


    •Change in the number of threats and risks to the psycho-social well-being of the target group identified by the community (this indicator is also appropriate for objective 3).

    •Change in the number of community identified response mechanism to address threats to protection.

    •Change in the level of knowledge and attitudes regarding conflict resolution and anger management in the target group.

    •Change in the level of knowledge and attitudes regarding sexual and gender based violence among youth in the target schools.

    •Change in the number of incidents/reports of gender-based violence.

    •Change in the number of reported incidents of problems caused by anger/ violence.

    .Change in the level of perceived safety or security.

Notes on Methods for Measurement:

The indicators suggested above are primarily quantitative, with the exception of perceived level of safety or security. However, the development of quantitative questionnaires is not as simple as asking a direct question; most of the quantitative measures mentioned above must be derived from a set of indirect questions and observations. For example, asking someone if they "feel safe" may not result in as valid a measure as a set of questions or ranked responses to perceived danger or risk associated with specific places, activities, times of the day, or in the presence of particular individuals. Various mapping exercises may also prove useful in identifying indicators like: perceived levels of safety and security among children and youth by giving them an opportunity to rank their choice.

• Number of CLWs trained in Psycho-Social Support (PSS).

• Number of NGOs, GOs involved in Psycho-Social Support (PSS) activities.

• Number of families attended by CLWs.

• Type of PSS whether vertical or integrated and horizontal.

• Number of persons normalised during various phases of the disaster.

• Reduction in impact, distress, disability.

• Improvement in quality of life and quality of community life.

• Health seeking behaviour among the affected community.

• Incidence of alcohol, addictive substance use/abuse in the survivor community.

• Incidence of family violence, child neglect, wife battering, child trafficking.

• Number of suicides with relevance to disaster distress.

• Number of persons with mental illness pre and post-disaster, provided Mental Health Services.

• District Mental Health Programme take-over of disaster mental health issues.

Some Additional Indicators:

• Number of vulnerable groups identified (women, children, etc.).

• Number of persons given interventions.

• Types of interventions.

• Types of referral services: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.

• Number of persons Rehabilitated.

• Number of Self Help Groups (SHGs) formed.

• Number of Women provided with alternative activities.