Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)Volume 6 Number 1 (2014)
Mental Health Worker Roles Post-Disaster: An Integrative Review
Background: Mental health workers play an important role in caring for traumatised people after a disaster. While there is much literature about disaster responses, little has been written from the perspective of mental health workers.
Aim: The aim of this integrative review is to explore the current evidence related to the personal and professional responses to the impact of a disaster; the roles, actions, involvement, psychological preparation and reactions of mental health workers working in the aftermath of a disaster.
Methods: Relevant literature published between 1996 and 2012 was identified through electronic databases. Articles were reviewed if they discussed the roles of mental health workers in communities post disaster. Thirty-one peer reviewed journal articles met the inclusion criteria.
Results: Two themes emerged relating to the tasks, roles, skills and actions mental health workers perform during a disaster response, and the emotional impact of the work on the mental health workers.
Conclusions: Findings identified a gap in the literature about the education and preparedness of mental health workers to support traumatised survivors immediately after a disaster, and the long-term impact of a disaster on mental health workers who are themselves survivors yet continue to provide care to others in affected communities.
Keyword: Disasters, Community mental health services, Disaster relief planning, Survivors.