Disasters are a prominent part of our history and will be a part of our future. From gene to protein, cell to organ, and individual to group, the complexity of human responses to disaster trauma is profound. Understanding both individual and community mental health responses to disasters is critical to developing and planning for postdisaster interventions across the biological, psychological, and sociocultural levels.
Disaster planning begins with individual, family, community, and workplace preparedness prior to a disaster. Effective interventions are dependent on rapid, effective, and sustained mobilization of resources. Evidence-based interventions at multiple levels strengthen clinical care and community responses and facilitate resilience and recovery. Knowing the psychiatric and behavioral responses to disaster enables medical experts and community leaders to communicate to the public, deliver evidence-based care, promote resilience, foster adherence to recommendations, encourage behaviors which can facilitate recovery, and sustain the social fabric of the disaster communities and nations.
This textbook, the first specifically on disaster psychiatry, brings together international experts to provide a comprehensive view of the psychological, biological, and social processes of response to, and intervention for, disaster mental health needs. The chapters present cutting-edge scientific knowledge with implications for clinical care and interventions, services and public health policy development. The volume is organized to provide scientific information about psychiatric illness, disaster-related stress and health risk behaviors, as well as the treatment and public health services that are needed for disaster mental health care for individuals and communities in countries throughout the world.