Disaster Behavioral Health Through the Lens of COVID-19   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Abstract: "Disaster planning and response in the U.S. is structured by the National Incident Management System (NIMS) that focuses on the safety and protection of life, assets, and the environment. Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issues specific guidance related to such planning and response. Part of this planning includes the need to attend to the emotional well-being of those impacted by disasters, as well as the need to ensure continuity of operations and access to behavioral health care during emergencies. COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] resulted in a declaration of emergency and by early 2020 was codified as a global pandemic. Unlike a more common, local, or sudden disaster emergency such as a tornado or an explosion, COVID-19 was global and long-term. It overwhelmed health care systems, caused the death of millions, created economic and social disruption around the world, and dramatically changed life as we knew it. From this experience, health disparities and the unique needs of public behavioral health populations became increasingly apparent. Additionally, the human toll from COVID-19 and the resultant need for expanded behavioral health crisis response suggests there are lessons to be learned from the widespread loss, quarantine, and social shifts to connections via technology. The pandemic also highlighted some of the progress that has occurred over the last several decades related to incorporating behavioral health responses into overall emergency preparedness. This paper reviews the history and framework of emergency planning and response and addresses aspects related to COVID-19. Recommendations for how best to incorporate behavioral health responses into future disaster emergency planning are offered."

Report Number:
Technical Assistance Collaborative Paper No. 2
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
Retrieved From:
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors: https://www.nasmhpd.org/
Media Type:
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Listed on September 22, 2021 [Critical Releases]