Service provision in disaster preparation, response, and recovery for individuals with predisaster mental illness


  • Andra Teten Tharp, PhD
  • Joseph I. Constans, PhD
  • Rob Yin, LISW
  • Greer Sullivan, MD, MSPH
  • Jennifer J. Vasterling, PhD
  • Jeff Rouse, MD
  • Merritt D. Schreiber, PhD
  • Michael King, PhD



disaster, mental health, PTSD


Individuals with preexisting mental disorders are at increased risk for negative outcomes following a disaster and are one type of vulnerable subpopulation that requires special consideration in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.We describe evidence of the increased risk for individuals with predisaster mental illness as well as tools for field triage, the critical role of partnerships in preparedness and response, and integration of mental health as a priority in emergency management systems. Considering individuals with predisaster mental disorders at each phase of a disaster may ameliorate some negative postdisaster outcomes, such as suicide.

Author Biographies

Andra Teten Tharp, PhD

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Joseph I. Constans, PhD

Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System; South Central VA Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center; Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Rob Yin, LISW

American Red Cross, National Headquarters, Washington, DC.

Greer Sullivan, MD, MSPH

South Central VA Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center; University of Arkansas for Medical Science, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jennifer J. Vasterling, PhD

VA Boston Healthcare System; Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.

Jeff Rouse, MD

Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Merritt D. Schreiber, PhD

Center for Disaster Medical Sciences, University of California Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California.

Michael King, PhD

National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.


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How to Cite

Tharp, PhD, A. T., J. I. Constans, PhD, R. Yin, LISW, G. Sullivan, MD, MSPH, J. J. Vasterling, PhD, J. Rouse, MD, M. D. Schreiber, PhD, and M. King, PhD. “Service Provision in Disaster Preparation, Response, and Recovery for Individuals With Predisaster Mental Illness”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 7, no. 3, July 2012, pp. 171-4, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2012.0092.




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