Working as a Psychologist in the Medical Reserve Corps: Providing Emergency Mental Health Relief Services in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

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12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article details before, during, and after "snapshots" of what it is like to go into a disaster to provide emergency mental health as part of the nation's emerging Medical Reserve Corps. It is a first-time responder's personal account of "lessons learned" and "priorities" for psychologists in similar situations. Twelve recommendations for improving psychologists' effectiveness in addressing widespread mental health disasters are identified. These include (a) team deployment and mission, (b) anticipation of frustrations, (c) prioritization in a disaster, (d) ethical dilemmas, (e) recognition of the benefits, (f) development of rapid screening tools to identify those in greatest need of mental health intervention, (g) training allied health professionals in mental health response, (h) mental health interventions specific to Katrina, (i) the importance of supporting caregivers and systems, (j) identifying and activating one's own support system, (k) slowing down interventions, and (l) training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

Keywords

  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Medical Reserve Corps
  • emergency mental health
  • psychological first aid
  • rapid screening

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