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BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DISASTER RESPONSE(S)

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DISASTER RESPONSE(S) - Behavioral Health...

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1 Behavioral Health Disaster Response Psychological First Aid Joan M. Culley, PhD, MPH, RN, CWOCN Revised Sept 2010
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2 This presentation was created by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Lisa Gurland R.N. Psy.D Director of Behavioral Health Planning and Development Massachusetts Department of Public Health In collaboration with CMG Associates with support from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and Disaster Behavioral Health Program of New Hampshire
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3 Objectives Understand how emergency events affect the behavioral health of individuals, families and communities Describe the symptoms and manifestations of disaster stress (the normal response to an abnormal event) and the relevant issues of prevention and intervention Define and formulate psychological first aid techniques in behavioral health disaster response Outline self care techniques to reduce stress and prevent secondary trauma among Behavioral Health Disaster Responders
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4 The Impact of an Incident Depends Upon Physical proximity to event Emotional proximity to the emergency Secondary effects (school closings, shelter in place)
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5 Psychological Effects Pre-exposure (chronic threat versus acute threat) Exposure (includes perceived exposure) Post-exposure
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6 Behavioral Health Emergency Preparedness Principles No one who experiences a disaster is untouched by it Disaster stress and grief reactions are normal responses to an abnormal situation
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7 The Rationale for Behavioral Health Intervention People experience common emotional and psychological reactions to disasters – disaster stress These reactions subside with time for most people A behavioral intervention (psychological first aid, crisis counseling, etc.) helps people understand the experience and builds and supports coping skills Appropriate interventions can prevent long term problems by returning people to their pre-disaster level of functioning as quickly as possible
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8 The Rationale for Behavioral Health Intervention Interventions “normalize" reactions, reducing the fear that “something is wrong" or “dangerous" or “crazy" about particular thoughts and feelings Interventions validate and affirm the experience and offer practical assistance
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9 Behavioral Health Response How people respond in an emergency has life or death ramifications We want people to behave in ways that support their well being We want to support optimal functioning
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10 Definition of Behavioral Health Addresses our ability to function as individuals, families, institutions and communities Behavioral Health Response mitigates the consequences of a disaster through prevention and intervention
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11 Understanding Behavioral Health and Disaster Stress Improve the quality of interactions Allow for better communication Reduce symptoms of burnout Support an effective and timely response to an emergency
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12 Purpose of a Behavioral Health Intervention
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