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Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2013 Dec 20;4. doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.22897. eCollection 2013.

Lessons learned about psychosocial responses to disaster and mass trauma: an international perspective.

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Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
School of Political Science, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Department of Adult Mental Health, Tokyo, Japan.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.
Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Institute for Disaster Mental Health, State University of New York, New Paltz, NY, USA.
Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands ; Arq Psychotrauma Expert Center, Diemen, The Netherlands.
Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.


At the 13th meeting of the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies in 2013, a symposium was held that brought together international researchers and clinicians who were involved in psychosocial responses to disaster. A total of six disasters that occurred in five countries were presented and discussed. Lessons learned from these disasters included the need to: (1) tailor the psychosocial response to the specific disaster, (2) provide multi-dimensional psychosocial care, (3) target at-risk population groups, (4) proactively address barriers in access to care, (5) recognise the social dimensions and sources of resilience, (6) extend the roles for mental health professionals, (7) efficiently coordinate and integrate disaster response services, and (8) integrate research and evaluation into disaster response planning.


Disasters; disaster planning; mental health; psychosocial; trauma

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