ln humanitarian crises, the primary emphasis of mental health and psychosocial responders is on deficits such as mental disorders, psychosocial distress, and increased vulnerability. Although analysis of these issues is essential, it is equally important to identify and build upon affected people’s resilience and assets such as coping strategies and indigenous systems of support.
Taking a systems approach and viewing resilience as reflecting the dynamic interplay of risk and protective factors at diverse levels such as family, community, and societal levels, this presentation explains how from a field perspective a community resilience framework provides a useful foundation for psychosocial support for emergency-affected people. Also, it analyzes how inattention to resilience and assets can inadvertently cause harm by, for example, stigmatizing affected people and reducing complex socio-historic and political problems to clinical problems. However, it cautions that a resilience approach is also subject to misuse. To support critical consciousness and prevention, it outlines some of the limitations of current resilience oriented approaches and identifies problems associated with simplistic, contextually inappropriate approaches to supporting resilience. lt ends with a call for holistic, multi-level approaches that are evidence based, contextually appropriate, sustainable, and balanced in their emphases on mitigating suffering and supporting resilience.