Mental Health in Disaster Settings
SPH IH 758
War and violent conflict inflict significant mental trauma on survivors: people living in post-conflict settings are exposed to constant stresses in their daily life and are often subjected to violence, sexual assault, imprisonment and torture. The effects may persist for years afterward, leading to substance abuse, depression, social and economic difficulties or suicide. Incidents of genocide, mass murder or starvation are particularly damaging to the human psyche. This course will cover the goals and structure of emergency programs that attend to the mental health needs of survivors of violent conflict, from the point of view of the program manager, but including an overview of the psychology of trauma and of the principle psychotherapeutic techniques used in the field by disaster relief agencies. Students will be introduced to variables affecting vulnerability and resilience including age, gender, culture and role?as relief workers, soldiers, perpetrators, etc. Participants will also learn about emergency interventions with severe stress reactions and preventative care to avert long-term problems, and how to plan for, implement, monitor, and evaluate mental health interventions and psychosocial programs for communities that have suffered collectively.