Caring for the Mental Health of Disaster Responders

Young businesswoman with a headache isolated on whiteIn this segment the Disaster Podcast Team looks at what it takes to keep responders going when the going gets mentally and emotionally tough. Emotional and mental health support for the responders themselves is perhaps one of the most important things to keep the teams in the field where they can do the most good.

This care starts with preparing teams for what they can expect when responding to a disaster scene. Training the crews in the manner they will respond and giving them realistic expectations of what they will see and encounter when on location can go a long way to helping them prepare for the stress of the disaster sites.

As the numbers of injuries and illnesses reported adds up, it can be an indicator of the overall readiness state of the team and their ability to function to peak efficiency. Eventually the team may need to take a break or pull themselves off the line for a time period to get back to a level of health that allows them to function again.

Team members also have to self assess and work through the aftermath when they return from a response deployment. Critical incident stress management programs help with this but it is also imperative that the disaster teams themselves monitor each other for signs of untreated stress and post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).

Got a question for the Disaster Podcast Team? Why don’t you leave a comment below here on the site and we’ll get right back to you both in the comments area and by email, too! We look forward to hearing from you.

Again, a special thank-you to Paragon Medical Education Group for their continued support of this podcast as our partners in this endeavor to bring disaster medicine to you. Check out their page and educational resources that can help your system be more prepared for what happens in your area.


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