Mental health needs in a post-disaster environment

Academic Article


  • Maintenance of a daily routine, which includes scheduled medications, access to a health care provider, and a stable environment, forms an anchor point in the lives of people diagnosed with mental illness. When a disaster, either man made or natural, interferes with these, patients often experience an acute exacerbation of their illness. Efforts to mitigate the ensuing disruption require a contingency plan in the event of a disaster; a plan ensuring access to medications, health information, and caregiver stability, allows those with mental illness to continue to function at an acceptable level. Recent world events, such as the Asian Tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, indicate that minimal research exists regarding the magnitude of the effects of disasters on those with mental illness. A review of the literature indicates that the impact on survivors' mental well-being is directly related to the level of exposure to a disaster. Mental health professionals must include crisis management, planning, and communication in pre- and post-disaster interventions with people who have mental illness.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Milligan G; McGuinness TM
  • Start Page

  • 23
  • End Page

  • 30
  • Volume

  • 47
  • Issue

  • 9