Disaster and Mental Health for Ressponders: Principles and Issues
Courses and Workshops Goals (1-2 days)
How to prepare an effective support system for patients, families and hospital staff in the aftermath of a Mass Casualty Incident. The Israeli experience in managing stress, loss, grief, PTSD and recovery.

These courses are delivered by an experienced Israeli team of psychiatrists and mental health professionals. We draw on the direct experience of Israel's largest hospitals and thousands of victims of terrorism during the last four years of unrelenting attacks, resulting in over 6,000 casualties. The courses also explore the latest guidelines, protocols and hospitals' best-practices in providing support for the patients, families and staff exposed to an MCI. The target audience includes social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists as well as psychiatric and rehabilitation nurses.


The following principles guide the provision of mental health assistance following disasters. The truth and wisdom reflected in these principles have been shown over and over again, from disaster to disaster.


  • No one who sees a disaster is untouched by it.
  • There are two types of disaster trauma-individual and community.
  • Most people pull together and function during and after a disaster, but their effectiveness is diminished.
  • Disaster stress and grief reactions are normal responses to an abnormal situation.
  • Many emotional reactions of disaster survivors stem from problems of living brought about by the disaster.
  • Most people do not see themselves as needing mental health services following disaster and will not seek such services.
  • Survivors may reject disaster assistance of all types.
  • Disaster mental health assistance is often more practical than psychological in nature.
  • Disaster mental health services must be uniquely tailored to the communities they serve.
  • Mental health workers need to set aside traditional methods, avoid the use of mental health labels, and use an active outreach approach to intervene successfully in disaster.
  • Survivors respond to active, genuine interest, and concern.
  • Interventions must be appropriate to the phase of the disaster.
  • Social support systems are crucial to recovery.

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