Special Issue "Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Climate Change and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 August 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Lennart Reifels
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Interests: population mental health; disaster risk reduction; strategic climate change adaptation
Prof. Dr. Michel Dückers
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. NIVEL—The Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands
2. ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, Diemen, The Netherlands
3. University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
Interests: disaster health research; crisis management; disaster risk reduction; vulnerability studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The global increase in extreme climatic events and disasters, whether natural or human-induced, will have significant impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of affected populations. Despite a growing recognition of the importance of mental health and psychosocial support aspects in global disaster policy frameworks (such as the Sendai Framework, and the WHO Framework for Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management), the intersections of our current approaches to disaster risk reduction and existing efforts to address mental health and psychosocial aspects in disaster and emergency contexts are still relatively poorly understood. This Special Issue will therefore provide a unique opportunity to further examine these insufficiently explored themes and intersections through a disaster risk reduction lens across the various stages of the disaster life cycle and across geographies. More specifically, we are inviting scientific contributions (including conceptual and policy papers, empirical studies and systematic reviews) that advance our understanding of the mental health dimensions and risks of disasters and extreme climatic events and/or which focus on innovative strategies to more proactively and effectively reduce these risks at individual, community, population, health service system, national or global levels in future.

Dr. Lennart Reifels
Prof. Dr. Michel Dückers
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Disaster mental health
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Mental health and psychosocial support
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies
  • Extreme climatic events
  • Quality of psychosocial services in crises

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Article
Space-Time Dependence of Emotions on Twitter after a Natural Disaster
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5292; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18105292 - 16 May 2021
Viewed by 687
Abstract
Natural disasters can have significant consequences for population mental health. Using a digital spatial epidemiologic approach, this study documents emotional changes over space and time in the context of a large-scale disaster. Our aims were to (a) explore the spatial distribution of negative [...] Read more.
Natural disasters can have significant consequences for population mental health. Using a digital spatial epidemiologic approach, this study documents emotional changes over space and time in the context of a large-scale disaster. Our aims were to (a) explore the spatial distribution of negative emotional expressions of Twitter users before, during, and after Superstorm Sandy in New York City (NYC) in 2012 and (b) examine potential correlations between socioeconomic status and infrastructural damage with negative emotional expressions across NYC census tracts over time. A total of 984,311 geo-referenced tweets with negative basic emotions (anger, disgust, fear, sadness, shame) were collected and assigned to the census tracts within NYC boroughs between 8 October and 18 November 2012. Global and local univariate and bivariate Moran’s I statistics were used to analyze the data. We found local spatial clusters of all negative emotions over all disaster periods. Socioeconomic status and infrastructural damage were predominantly correlated with disgust, fear, and shame post-disaster. We identified spatial clusters of emotional reactions during and in the aftermath of a large-scale disaster that could help provide guidance about where immediate and long-term relief measures are needed the most, if transferred to similar events and on comparable data worldwide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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Article
The Evolution in Anxiety and Depression with the Progression of the Pandemic in Adult Populations from Eight Countries and Four Continents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4845; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094845 - 01 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1162
Abstract
Nearly a year after the classification of the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic, it is clear that different factors have contributed to an increase in psychological disorders, including public health measures that infringe on personal freedoms, growing financial losses, and conflicting messages. [...] Read more.
Nearly a year after the classification of the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic, it is clear that different factors have contributed to an increase in psychological disorders, including public health measures that infringe on personal freedoms, growing financial losses, and conflicting messages. This study examined the evolution of psychosocial impacts with the progression of the pandemic in adult populations from different countries and continents, and identified, among a wide range of individual and country-level factors, which ones are contributing to this evolving psychological response. An online survey was conducted in May/June 2020 and in November 2020, among a sample of 17,833 adults (Phase 1: 8806; Phase 2: 9027) from eight countries/regions (Canada, the United States, England, Switzerland, Belgium, Hong Kong, the Philippines, New Zealand). Probable generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive episode (MDE) were assessed. The independent role of potential factors was examined using multilevel logistic regression. Probable GAD or MDE was indicated by 30.1% and 32.5% of the respondents during phases 1 and 2, respectively (a 7.9% increase over time), with an important variation according to countries/regions (range from 22.3% in Switzerland to 38.8% in the Philippines). This proportion exceeded 50% among young adults (18–24 years old) in all countries except for Switzerland. Beyond young age, several factors negatively influenced mental health in times of pandemic; important factors were found, including weak sense of coherence (adjusted odds ratio aOR = 3.89), false beliefs (aOR = 2.33), and self-isolation/quarantine (aOR = 2.01). The world has entered a new era dominated by psychological suffering and rising demand for mental health interventions, along a continuum from health promotion to specialized healthcare. More than ever, we need to innovate and build interventions aimed at strengthening key protective factors, such as sense of coherence, in the fight against the adversity caused by the concurrent pandemic and infodemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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Article
Factors Hindering Social Participation among Older Residents from Evacuation Zones after the Nuclear Power Plant Accident in Fukushima: The Fukushima Health Management Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4426; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094426 - 21 Apr 2021
Viewed by 655
Abstract
Considering the health effects of radiation accompanying the nuclear power plant accident that occurred in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, this study aimed to examine social participation after the disaster and factors hindering participation among citizens aged ≥ 65 years [...] Read more.
Considering the health effects of radiation accompanying the nuclear power plant accident that occurred in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, this study aimed to examine social participation after the disaster and factors hindering participation among citizens aged ≥ 65 years from designated evacuation zones inside the Fukushima prefecture. The target population comprised 180,604 residents in 13 municipalities containing designated evacuation zones. There were 73,433 valid responses (response rate, 40.7%); of which, data from 19,573 respondents aged ≥ 65 years were analyzed. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate the factors associated with social participation. In total, 53.0% of older evacuees did not participate in recreational activities or communal services. Stratified analysis showed that living outside the Fukushima prefecture and requiring assistance with activities of daily living were associated with low social participation. This study clarified that the majority of older evacuees did not participate in social activities at the time of the survey within one year of the disaster. Furthermore, where these older individuals were evacuated to and whether they were able to live independently might have affected their social participation. Better subjective health, better sleep quality, and more frequent exercise may be associated with improved social participation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
Article
How Does Reciprocal Exchange of Social Support Alleviate Individuals’ Depression in an Earthquake-Damaged Community?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1585; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041585 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 956
Abstract
There is ample evidence to indicate the direct effects of receiving social support on mental health during and after a disaster. However, the importance of reciprocal exchanges of social support (i.e., balanced receipt and provision of social support) in maintaining the mental health [...] Read more.
There is ample evidence to indicate the direct effects of receiving social support on mental health during and after a disaster. However, the importance of reciprocal exchanges of social support (i.e., balanced receipt and provision of social support) in maintaining the mental health status of individuals is not widely recognized. Using equity theory and reciprocity norms as a conceptual base, we distinguished two types of social support, namely, emotional support and instrumental support, and examined the effects of reciprocal exchanges of types of support on depression in survivors of an earthquake-damaged community. To collect data, in 2019, a questionnaire survey was conducted among 295 survivors of the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake in a rural village in Nepal. Our results showed that the relationship between reciprocal exchange of support and depression varied depending on the types of support. The amount of emotional support received by the individual alleviated his/her depression only when accompanied by giving emotional support. By contrast, the net amount of instrumental support given by the individual increased his/her depression. The practical implications of the study are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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Article
Incorporating Mental Health Research into Disaster Risk Reduction: An Online Training Module for the Hazards and Disaster Workforce
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1244; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18031244 - 30 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1237
Abstract
There is an expansive and growing body of literature that examines the mental health consequences of disasters and large-scale emergencies. There is a need, however, for more explicit incorporation of mental health research into disaster risk reduction practices. Training and education programs can [...] Read more.
There is an expansive and growing body of literature that examines the mental health consequences of disasters and large-scale emergencies. There is a need, however, for more explicit incorporation of mental health research into disaster risk reduction practices. Training and education programs can serve as a bridge to connect academic mental health research and the work of disaster risk reduction practitioners. This article describes the development and evaluation of one such intervention, the CONVERGE Disaster Mental Health Training Module, which provides users from diverse academic and professional backgrounds with foundational knowledge on disaster mental health risk factors, mental health outcomes, and psychosocial well-being research. Moreover, the module helps bridge the gap between research and practice by describing methods used to study disaster mental health, showcasing examples of evidence-based programs and tools, and providing recommendations for future research. Since its initial release on 8 October 2019, 317 trainees from 12 countries have completed the Disaster Mental Health Training Module. All trainees completed a pre- and post-training questionnaire regarding their disaster mental health knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests demonstrated a significant increase in all three measures after completion of the training module. Students, emerging researchers or practitioners, and trainees with a high school/GED education level experienced the greatest benefit from the module, with Kruskal–Wallis results indicating significant differences in changes in knowledge and skills across the groups. This evaluation research highlights the effectiveness of the Disaster Mental Health Training Module in increasing knowledge, skills, and attitudes among trainees. This article concludes with a discussion of how this training can support workforce development and ultimately contribute to broader disaster risk reduction efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
Article
One Virus, Four Continents, Eight Countries: An Interdisciplinary and International Study on the Psychosocial Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic among Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8390; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17228390 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2588
Abstract
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic brought about several features that increased the sense of fear and confusion, such as quarantine and financial losses among other stressors, which may have led to adverse psychosocial outcomes. The influence of such stressors took place [...] Read more.
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic brought about several features that increased the sense of fear and confusion, such as quarantine and financial losses among other stressors, which may have led to adverse psychosocial outcomes. The influence of such stressors took place within a broader sociocultural context that needs to be considered. The objective was to examine how the psychological response to the pandemic varied across countries and identify which risk/protective factors contributed to this response. An online survey was conducted from 29 May 2020–12 June 2020, among a multinational sample of 8806 adults from eight countries/regions (Canada, United States, England, Switzerland, Belgium, Hong Kong, Philippines, New Zealand). Probable generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depression episode (MDE) were assessed. The independent role of a wide range of potential factors was examined using multilevel logistic regression. Probable GAD and MDE were indicated by 21.0% and 25.5% of the respondents, respectively, with an important variation according to countries/regions (GAD: 12.2–31.0%; MDE: 16.7–32.9%). When considered together, 30.2% of the participants indicated probable GAD or MDE. Several factors were positively associated with a probable GAD or MDE, including (in descending order of importance) weak sense of coherence (SOC), lower age, false beliefs, isolation, threat perceived for oneself/family, mistrust in authorities, stigma, threat perceived for country/world, financial losses, being a female, and having a high level of information about COVID-19. Having a weak SOC yielded the highest adjusted odds ratio for probable GAD or MDE (3.21; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.73–3.77). This pandemic is having an impact on psychological health. In some places and under certain circumstances, however, people seem to be better protected psychologically. This is a unique opportunity to evaluate the psychosocial impacts across various sociocultural backgrounds, providing important lessons that could inform all phases of disaster risk management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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Article
Belonging and Inclusivity Make a Resilient Future for All: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Post-Flood Social Capital in a Diverse Australian Rural Community
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7676; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17207676 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1037
Abstract
In 2017, marginalised groups were disproportionately impacted by extensive flooding in a rural community in Northern New South Wales, Australia, with greater risk of home inundation, displacement and poor mental health. While social capital has been linked with good health and wellbeing, there [...] Read more.
In 2017, marginalised groups were disproportionately impacted by extensive flooding in a rural community in Northern New South Wales, Australia, with greater risk of home inundation, displacement and poor mental health. While social capital has been linked with good health and wellbeing, there has been limited investigation into its potential benefits in post-disaster contexts, particularly for marginalised groups. Six months post-flood, a cross-sectional survey was conducted to quantify associations between flood impact, individual social capital and psychological distress (including probable post-traumatic stress disorder). We adopted a community-academic partnership approach and purposive recruitment to increase participation from socio-economically marginalised groups (Aboriginal people and people in financial hardship). These groups reported lower levels of social capital (informal social connectedness, feelings of belonging, trust and optimism) compared to general community participants. Despite this, informal social connectedness and belonging were important factors for all participant groups, associated with reduced risk of psychological distress. In this flood-prone, rural community, there is a pressing need to build social capital collectively through co-designed strategies that simultaneously address the social, cultural and economic needs of marginalised groups. Multiple benefits will ensue for the whole community: reduced inequities; strengthened resilience; improved preparedness and lessened risk of long-term distress from disaster events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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Article
Development and Evaluation of a Gatekeeper Training Program Regarding Anxiety about Radiation Health Effects Following a Nuclear Power Plant Accident: A Single-Arm Intervention Pilot Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4594; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17124594 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
After the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in March 2011, residents perceived a radiation exposure risk. To address the concerns about radiation exposure and the subsequent effects on their health, we developed the gatekeeper training program for radiation health anxiety and mental [...] Read more.
After the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in March 2011, residents perceived a radiation exposure risk. To address the concerns about radiation exposure and the subsequent effects on their health, we developed the gatekeeper training program for radiation health anxiety and mental health issues. The program consisted of a presentation and roleplay, with educational objectives to the increase knowledge and understanding around radiation health anxiety, alcoholism, depression, and suicide. Twenty-six counselors participated in the program as a single-arm intervention. To measure the outcomes, the subjects reported self-confidence when they counselled with residents with radiation health anxiety and other mental health issues. Comparing the answers to pre- and 2-month follow-up surveys, the confidence levels were higher after 2 months than at baseline, especially for the question “How confident are you at supporting a resident with mental health issues?”, which showed the largest increase (p < 0.001). Regarding radiation health anxiety the questions “Can you communicate coping skills to a resident with radiation health anxiety?” (p = 0.007) and “Can you refer a resident with radiation health anxiety to professionals who can cope appropriately?” (p = 0.016) showed significant increases in their confidence levels. This program could be useful for on-going health activities and future nuclear disasters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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Article
Prevalence of Potentially Traumatic Events, Other Life Events and Subsequent Reactions Indicative for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the Netherlands: A General Population Study Based on the Trauma Screening Questionnaire
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1725; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17051725 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1758
Abstract
The 12-month and lifetime prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in different country populations has been assessed while using clinical interviews. Because this methodology is relatively time-consuming and resource-intensive, disaster health researchers adopted instruments, like the Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ). This study (1) [...] Read more.
The 12-month and lifetime prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in different country populations has been assessed while using clinical interviews. Because this methodology is relatively time-consuming and resource-intensive, disaster health researchers adopted instruments, like the Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ). This study (1) used the TSQ to estimate the lifetime prevalence of potentially traumatic events and other life events (PTE/OLEs) and the one-week prevalence of subsequent reactions indicative for PTSD (based on DSM-IV PTSD criteria) in The Netherlands and (2) investigated risk and protective factors for the development of PTSD to overcome the lack of baseline comparison data on general populations and subgroups. The data were derived from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 (NEMESIS-2), a representative study in the Dutch general population aged 18 to 64 years (N = 6646), using face-to-face interviews. Logistic regression modeling was used to assess PTSD correlates. The lifetime PTE/OLE prevalence was 71.1%. Among exposed subjects, one-week PTSD prevalence was estimated at 2.0%. The correlates of PTSD were female gender, Moroccan, or Turkish ethnicity, and exposure to sexual abuse and exposure time less than four years ago. The results are discussed in relation to earlier 12-month and lifetime general population prevalence of PTSD in the Netherlands and other countries, and TSQ-based disaster studies. General population replications can provide additional TSQ baseline data, and shed light on exposure and PTSD prevalence assessed with different instruments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
Article
The Effect of Psychological First Aid Training on Knowledge and Understanding about Psychosocial Support Principles: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 484; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17020484 - 11 Jan 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2666
Abstract
Psychological first aid (PFA) is a world-wide implemented approach to helping people affected by an emergency, disaster, or other adverse event. Controlled evaluations of PFA’s training effects are lacking. We evaluated the effectiveness of a one-day PFA training on the acquisition and retention [...] Read more.
Psychological first aid (PFA) is a world-wide implemented approach to helping people affected by an emergency, disaster, or other adverse event. Controlled evaluations of PFA’s training effects are lacking. We evaluated the effectiveness of a one-day PFA training on the acquisition and retention of knowledge of appropriate responses and skills in the acute aftermath of adversity in Peripheral Health Units (PHUs) in post-Ebola Sierra Leone. Secondary outcomes were professional quality of life, confidence in supporting a distressed person, and professional attitude. PHUs in Sierra Leone (n = 129) were cluster-randomized across PFA (206 participants) and control (202 participants) in March 2017. Knowledge and understanding of psychosocial support principles and skills were measured with a questionnaire and two patient scenarios to which participants described helpful responses. Professional attitude, confidence, and professional quality of life were assessed using self-report instruments. Assessments took place at baseline and at three- and six-months post-baseline. The PFA group had a stronger increase in PFA knowledge and understanding at the post-PFA training assessment (d = 0.50; p < 0.001) and at follow-up (d = 0.43; p = 0.001). In addition, the PFA group showed better responses to the scenarios at six-months follow-up (d = 0.38; p = 0.0002) but not at the post-assessment (d = 0.04; p = 0.26). No overall significant differences were found for professional attitude, confidence, and professional quality of life. In conclusion, PFA training improved acquisition and retention of knowledge and understanding of appropriate psychosocial responses and skills in providing support to individuals exposed to acute adversity. Our data support the use of PFA trainings to strengthen capacity for psychosocial support in contexts of disaster and humanitarian crisis. Future studies should examine the effects of PFA on psychosocial outcomes for people affected by crises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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Article
Association of Anxiety over Radiation Exposure and Acquisition of Knowledge Regarding Occupational Health Management in Operation Leader Candidates of Radioactivity Decontamination Workers in Fukushima, Japan: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 228; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17010228 - 28 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1152
Abstract
An operation leader (OL) of radioactivity decontamination workers is required by law to have accurate knowledge of occupational health management (OHM) such as working environment management, control of operations, and health management as a field supervisor in Japan. The purpose of the current [...] Read more.
An operation leader (OL) of radioactivity decontamination workers is required by law to have accurate knowledge of occupational health management (OHM) such as working environment management, control of operations, and health management as a field supervisor in Japan. The purpose of the current study is to examine the association between anxiety over radiation exposure and the possession/acquisition of the OHM knowledge required for OLs. In this cross-sectional study, data were collected before and after training sessions held by Fukushima Prefecture Labor Standard Associations in Fukushima, Japan, in 2017. Eighty-seven males who completed the questionnaires were enrolled to this study. As a result, acquisition of knowledge of working environment management was significantly associated with an increase of anxiety over radiation exposure after the session comparing the situation before and after the session (knowledge possession; odds ratio = 4.489; 95% confidence interval = 1.216, 16.571). In conclusion, acquisition of accurate knowledge of how to manage working environment management was associated with anxiety over radiation exposure. Although acquisition of said knowledge may contribute to the reduction of physical health risks, it may increase mental health risks. Both mental health support for OLs with accurate knowledge and educational support for those without accurate knowledge are required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)

Review

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Review
The Integration of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support and Disaster Risk Reduction: A Mapping and Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1900; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17061900 - 14 Mar 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1513
Abstract
The field of disaster and emergency management has shifted in focus towards the goal of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). However, the degree to which the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) field has followed this trend is relatively unknown. Therefore, the objectives of [...] Read more.
The field of disaster and emergency management has shifted in focus towards the goal of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). However, the degree to which the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) field has followed this trend is relatively unknown. Therefore, the objectives of this review were to identify relevant projects, materials, and publications relating to MHPSS and DRR integration and define current domains of action in this integration. A review was conducted using a two-pronged approach for data collection. This approach included 1) a mapping exercise eliciting relevant documentation and project descriptions from MHPSS actors, and 2) a database and internet literature search. The mapping exercise was conducted between January and November 2019, while the literature search was completed in March 2019. The majority of identified materials concerned actions of capacity and systems building; preparedness; policy development, consensus building, and awareness raising; school- and child-focused DRR; inclusive DRR; and resilience promotion. Results also suggested that relatively little consensus exists in terms of formal definitions of and frameworks or guidance for integrating MHPSS and DRR. Moreover, domains of action varied in terms of current implementation practices and empirical evidence. Materials and projects are reviewed and discussed in terms of implications for advancing the integration of DRR and MHPSS and expanding MHPSS approaches to include building better before emergencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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Other

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Perspective
Ecological Grief as a Response to Environmental Change: A Mental Health Risk or Functional Response?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 734; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020734 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1462
Abstract
The perception of the impact of climate change on the environment is becoming a lived experience for more and more people. Several new terms for climate change-induced distress have been introduced to describe the long-term emotional consequences of anticipated or actual environmental changes, [...] Read more.
The perception of the impact of climate change on the environment is becoming a lived experience for more and more people. Several new terms for climate change-induced distress have been introduced to describe the long-term emotional consequences of anticipated or actual environmental changes, with ecological grief as a prime example. The mourning of the loss of ecosystems, landscapes, species and ways of life is likely to become a more frequent experience around the world. However, there is a lack of conceptual clarity and systematic research efforts with regard to such ecological grief. This perspective article introduces the concept of ecological grief and contextualizes it within the field of bereavement. We provide a case description of a mountaineer in Central Europe dealing with ecological grief. We introduce ways by which ecological grief may pose a mental health risk and/or motivate environmental behavior and delineate aspects by which it can be differentiated from related concepts of solastalgia and eco-anxiety. In conclusion, we offer a systematic agenda for future research that is embedded in the context of disaster mental health and bereavement research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
Brief Report
Multilevel Social Mechanisms of Post-Disaster Depression
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 391; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020391 - 06 Jan 2021
Viewed by 672
Abstract
This exploratory study empirically shows how community social capital is related to post-disaster depression, whereas most disaster mental health research has focused on posttraumatic stress disorder. We tested the validity of earlier found multilevel social and individual mechanisms of posttraumatic stress for symptoms [...] Read more.
This exploratory study empirically shows how community social capital is related to post-disaster depression, whereas most disaster mental health research has focused on posttraumatic stress disorder. We tested the validity of earlier found multilevel social and individual mechanisms of posttraumatic stress for symptoms of post-disaster depression. We used data (n = 231) from a community study after a flood in Morpeth (2008), a rural town in northern England. At the salutary community level, our multilevel analyses showed that, in communities with high social capital, individuals employ less individual social support and coping effort, which protects individuals from developing symptoms of depression. Yet, on the ‘dark’ individual level of our model, we found that perceiving the disaster as less traumatic after a year was related to more feelings of depression in contrast to previous findings for posttraumatic stress. Our explanation of this finding is that, when the appraisal of the disaster as threatening fades into the background, individuals may perceive the full scope of the disaster aftermath and start to feel depressed. We also found that more social support is related to more depression. Although depressed people may attract or receive more social support, this social support can paradoxically become disabling by reinforcing a sense of dependence, thereby undermining self-esteem and leading to feelings of helplessness. Our results imply that to curb post-disaster depression, boosting community level social capital may be an important starting point for building resilience. At the same time, interventionists need to identify risk groups for whom the stressful experience becomes less intrusive and who experience the burden of dependency on an unequal relationship with ones’ social inner circle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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