Background: In 2015, a technological disaster occurred through a mining dam rupture in the municipality of Mariana, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. In addition to impacts on the environment, there were 19 deaths and displacements of approximately 300 families. The purpose of the study is to investigate the perception of psychosocial impacts on the population affected by this disaster from the perspective of different groups involved and to suggest guidelines for the construction of mental health interventions in this context.
Methods: The study was conducted during the period of 2015 to 2019 from the perspective of qualitative research using participant observation, focus groups and individual interviews. Participants were people affected by the disaster, mental health workers and school professionals. Content Analysis was used to analyze the data.
Results: These families lost material, cultural, heritage, and symbolic assets. They were also forcibly displaced from rural to urban areas. The results showed loss of autonomy, difficulty in adapting to the new territory, reduced social support and suffering with hostility and stigma. In addition, they suffer from delay and waiting for resettlement.
Conclusions: Understanding the context is important for building mental health actions in disaster recovery. The study results show vulnerabilities and weaknesses in a post-disaster scenario. Understanding the social and community aspects involved enables mental health interventions based on the demands and capabilities of the population itself.