The guidelines lay out the essential first steps in protecting or promoting people's mental health and psychosocial well-being in the midst of emergencies. They identify useful practices and flag potentially harmful ones, and clarify how different approaches complement one another.
The guidelines have a clear focus on social interventions and supports. They emphasize the importance of building on local resources such as teachers, health workers, healers, and women’s groups to promote psychosocial well-being. They focus on strengthening social networks and building on existing ways community members deal with distress in their lives.
The guidelines include attention to protection and care of people with severe mental disorders, including severe trauma-induced disorders, as well as access to psychological first aid for those in acute distress.