Mental health response to disasters and other critical incidents has been proposed as a method of reducing short- and long-term problems that might follow a single, distinct life event or a public disturbance. Originally arising from concerns about soldiers and first responders, the mental health dimensions of disasters and other critical incidents are now considered a priority in disaster planning, response, and research.
Several groups have worked on consensus recommendations for the management of disasters and other critical incidents. A trauma group in the US has proposed a management strategy. The European Network for Traumatic Stress (TENTS) conducted a three-round Delphi process, and other organisations have also developed guidelines from consensus. From Chile, a similar model has been proposed based on a literature review. While the scientific evidence base for responding to the immediate- and, to a lesser degree, long-term mental health aftermath of trauma and disaster is still emerging, the content in this topic reflects the best practices in this area based on available expert consensus and experience.
- Preparing for disaster
- The mental health impact of disasters
- Outreach and screening
- Management of acute mental health responses
- Management of long-term mental health problems
- Role of systems management
- Next steps
Craig L. Katz, MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Medical Education, System Design and Global Health
Program in Global Mental Health
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York City
CLK is a trauma consultant for Advanced Recovery Systems. CLK is an author of references cited in this topic.
Professor Craig L. Katz would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr R. Gregg Dwyer and Dr Mindy T. Fullilove, previous contributors to this topic.
MTF is the author of some studies referenced in this topic. RGD declares that he has no competing interests.
Carol North, MD
The Nancy and Ray L. Hunt Chair in Crisis Psychiatry and Professor of Psychiatry
Division of Trauma and Disaster
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas
CN is the author of some studies referenced in this topic.
Chris Brewin, PhD
Professor of Clinical Psychology
Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology
CB is the author of one study referenced in this topic.
Anxiety: what is it?
Anxiety: what treatments work?More Patient leaflets
- Log in or subscribe to access all of BMJ Best Practice
Use of this content is subject to our disclaimer