Campus displacement Experiences of the University of the Philippines students and teachers Affected by typhoon haiyan: Perceived needs for Mental health and Psychosocial support

  • Anna Cristina A. Tuazon
Keywords: disaster experience, disaster victims, mental health, Philippines, psychosocial support


Background. Typhoon Haiyan made landfall over the Visayas Region in 2013, affecting 15 million people. At least 4 million people were displaced, including hundreds of University of the Philippines students and teachers who had to deal with the consequences of such displacement not only on their personal lives but also on their academic lives.

Objective. This study explored the experiences and needs of students and teachers of the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College (UP VTC), University of the Philippines Manila School of Health Sciences (UPM SHS), and University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) who were either directly affected by Typhoon Haiyan or served as responders to the typhoon survivors. The study specifically looked at experiences of displacement in an academic setting, from the perspective of those who were academically displaced and those who hosted them.

Methods. A qualitative descriptive study was designed involving a total of 17 student and teacher survivors and responders (ten survivors or survivor-responders and seven responders), who were purposively sampled and participated in an online open-ended questionnaire that elicited narrative experiences post-Typhoon Haiyan. Archived group process notes during the Haiyan response were also included as data. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to identify salient themes among and within groups.

Results. Salient themes of student and teacher survivors, survivor-responders, (i.e. survivors who also had the additional role of being responders for others), and responders that emerged included: (1) provision of basic needs (food, water, safety) including academic resources, (2) lack of deliberate psychosocial processing of the disaster experience for both survivor and responder, (3) unequal access to help, (4) communication and organizational problems, and (5) victimhood.

Conclusion. Student and teacher survivors and survivor-responders cited needs that go beyond basic survival needs that require a more contextual approach. Given the university context of student and teacher survivors, survivorresponders, and responders, recommendations included the need for (1) efficient dissemination of existing postdisaster school policies and programs to increase access to address communication and organizational issues, (2) equal access to school-based basic, financial, educational, and psychological support and services, and (3) proper sensitivity training for host students, teachers, and staff to decrease experiences of victimhood and discrimination.


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