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close this bookMental Health Services in Disasters: Instructor's Guide (PAHO; 2000; 174 pages) [ES]
View the documentGlossary*
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentTraining manual and materials produced in the United States
View the documentVideos
View the documentKey Concepts of Disaster Mental Health*
open this folder and view contentsChapter 1: Historical Overview - Mental Health Role Sociocultural Characteristics
open this folder and view contentsChapter 2: A Review of Basic and Applied Knowledge for the Development of Post-disaster Intervention Guidelines
open this folder and view contentsChapter 3: Developmental Stages of Survivor Behavior
close this folderChapter 4: Applied and Operational Guidelines for Assisting Post-disaster Survivors
View the documentTeaching Resources
View the documentBoundaries between Post-disaster Crisis Counseling, Treatment, and Advocacy*
View the documentGroup Work/Exercises
open this folder and view contentsChapter 5: Populations with Special Needs
View the documentBack Cover

Chapter 4: Applied and Operational Guidelines for Assisting Post-disaster Survivors



Module 4:

Introduces post-disaster intervention programs and applied and operational guidelines.


To review the purpose, scope, and application of post-disaster assistance guidelines.


Similarities and differences vis-a-vis other types of mental health intervention programs.


• Special characteristics of post-disaster assistance
• Consultation
• Education
• Outreach
• Crisis Counseling


After participating in Module 4 the students will:

Be able to identify existing outreach methodologies available to disaster mental health workers and plan post-disaster therapeutic interventions.


• Outreach
• Education
• Consultation
• Crisis counseling and support assistance

Referral to specialized programs


• Health
• Mental health
• Substance abuse
• Rehabilitation


This module presents the basic mental health post-disaster interventions, which include the following:

OUTREACH: This procedure is designed to find and assist survivors in expressing and understanding disaster-caused stress and grief reactions.

CRISIS COUNSELING: This procedure uses techniques that assist the survivor to return to normal functioning. A small number of survivors will have to be referred for professional assistance from a specialist (e.g., children, elderly persons, substance abusers).

EDUCATION: This method of informing the public, agency workers, and mental health professionals can be done through the print media, television, and radio.

CONSULTATION: Can be used by experienced workers who will assist the public and private agencies deployed to develop emergency programs.

Training in outreach and crisis counseling is the most operationally driven type of training and will necessitate practical role-playing, as well as ongoing supervision once the workers begin to interact with survivors. Intervention approaches after a disaster need to be adapted according to (1) the characteristics of survivors and (2) the time that has elapsed after the disaster. Continuous awareness of the importance of cultural factors in counseling methods should be a strong focus of the training.

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