Handbook for Mental Health Care of Disaster Victims
This innovative and much needed handbook will enable mental health administrators and practitioners to design and implement effective services for disaster victims. Drawing upon their own experiences dealing with disaster victims and upon a wealth of research, the authors present a tightly packed compendium of practical information on three general topics: understanding disaster behavior; developing a crisis counseling program; and treatment techniques for helping victims in the hours, days and months following a catastrophe.
Disasters are not uncommon, but they are generally unexpected. Most communities are unprepared for the devastation and disorganization following an earthquake, flood, tornado, or nuclear plant meltdown; they they are unable to respond quickly or effectively. Mental health professionals are often as unprepared as others. Traditionally, the highest priorities in relief efforts have been the provision of food, shelter, and medical care. Now it is becoming increasingly recognized that psychological assistance to victims in distress is also an important priority.
This handbook gives the mental health administrator and practitioner essential information about: • The types and phases of a disaster • The concepts surrounding disaster-related behavior • Specific physical and emotional problems suffered by victims • Appropriate helping techniques to treat those problemsCase studies of victims of floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, and blizzards give human immediacy to the information. In addition to administrators in state and local government, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, students, and community organizers will find this a ready guide.
About the Authors
Raquel E. Cohen is superintendent of the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center and director for mental health and mental retardation in the Harbor Area, Boston. Nationally active in designing and promoting mental health services for disaster intervention, she is associate professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and senior psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Frederick L. Ahearn, Jr., is chairman and associate professor of Community Organization and Social Planning at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. He has also been administrator of a mental health clinic and consultant to various mental health groups.
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