Cultural Implications for the Provision of Disaster Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Southeast Asia

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Southeast Asia (SEA) is a region highly susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis, though the region has been underrepresented in disaster mental health research. This chapter addresses risk factors for SEA, including its disaster-prone location, the psychological toll of frequent disasters, and stigma and shame and lack of psychoeducation about psychological help-seeking. Collectivism, strong family ties, and religious faith are among SEA’s resilience factors. Culture should be heavily accounted for in mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), considering the wide array of cultural differences in spirituality, affect and expression, power distance, and gender and masculinity in SEA. Because culture affects treatment satisfaction, treatment engagement, and treatment outcomes, future research should explore how aspects of SEA culture impact accessibility and engagement in MHPSS.