Community engagement and resilience
Making the most of practical experiences gained during past crises or disasters for improving mental health and psychosocial support in radiation emergencies

The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO), organised two interconnected web-based conferences to explore how the experience and lessons from non-nuclear crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, could help countries to improve Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in the event of a nuclear or radiological or nuclear emergency.

During these web events, held on 26 June and 10 July 2020, invited international experts shared their respective experiences, research findings and views on two main issues: 1) Mitigation of psychological impacts; and 2) Community engagement and resilience throughout the entire emergency cycle, from preparedness and response to recovery.

The main findings from these two events are summarized here.


Web-event #2: “Community engagement and resilience”; 10 July 2020, 14:00 – 15:45 Paris time


14:00 – 14:05: Welcome, brief summary of the first webinar and introduction of the second one

By Yeonhee Hah, Head of Division of Radiation Protection and Human Safety Aspects, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, Boulogne-Billancourt

14:05 – 14:10: Reminder of the expectation of the webinar

By Matthias Zähringer, EGNR Chair, BfS, Germany


14:10 – 15:10 : Invited key-notes – Chair: Christiane Pölzl-Viol, EGNR member, BfS, Germany


14:10-14:25:  “Collaboration model for the recovery from nuclear disaster?”

By Noburo Takamura,  Professor and Chairman, Department of Global health, Medicine and Welfare, Atomic Bomb Disease Institute, Nagasaki University


14:25- 14:40: “Mental health and psychosocial support for vulnerable groups during COVID-19 pandemic

By Fahmy Hanna, Co-Chair IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, WHO Geneva


14:40-14-55: “Psychological distress in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Accident – benefit from community resilience” provisional title

By Robin Goodwin, Professor in Psychology, University of Warwick, UK


14:55-15:10: “Multiple health risks during the COVID-19 crisis: lessons from Fukushima disaster “

By Masaharu Maeda, Professor at the Center for the Fukushima Health Management Survey, Department of Disaster Psychiatry, Fukushima Medical University, School of Medicine, Japan


15:10 – 15:40: Discussion with the panelists moderated by Christiane Pölzl-Viol, EGNR member


Deborah Oughton, Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Science (Oslo), joined the chair of the EGNR and the four speakers for the panel discussion.

  • What evidence do we have that community engagement is strengthening resilience?
  • Can we identify key issues that can be prepared for?
  • Are there practical examples of community engagement helping to strengthen resilience, in particular vulnerable groups?


15:40-15:45: Concluding remarks by Matthias Zähringer, EGNR Chair