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Public disaster mental/behavioral health communication: Intervention across disaster phases

J. Brian Houston, PhD

Abstract


Background: Disasters have been found to significantly impact mental and behavioral health.1 A public health response to disaster seeks to ameliorate this impact by identifying mental/behavioral health effects resulting from an event and by promoting healthy disaster-related outcomes. Disaster communication interventions are effective tools that disaster managers can use to achieve these outcomes.
Objectives: Based on a review of the literature, the objectives of this article are to describe disaster communication intervention activities and corresponding outcomes and to place those activities in a multiphase disaster communication framework.
Results: The Disaster Communication Intervention Framework (DCIF) is proposed. Outcomes targeted by DCIF include improving individual and community preparedness and resilience; decreasing disaster-related distress; promoting wellness, coping, recovery, and resilience; helping a community make sense of what happened during and after a disaster; and rebuilding the community. Strategies for achieving these outcomes are described.
Conclusions: DCIF provides a multiphase framework of public disaster mental/behavioral health communication intervention that can be used by disaster managers to improve mental and behavioral outcomes following a disaster.


Keywords


crisis communication, risk communication, disaster, public health

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2012.0106

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