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Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2018 Feb;12(1):19-22. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2017.37. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

Rapid Triage of Mental Health Risk in Emergency Medical Workers: Findings From Typhoon Haiyan.

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1Department of Emergency Medicine,University of California Irvine Health,Orange, California.
2Department of Pediatrics, LA BioMedical Research Institute,David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA,Harbor-UCLA Medical Center,Los Angeles, California.
3National Institutes of Health,University of Philippines,Manila,Philippines.



To determine the ability of a novel responder mental health self-triage system to predict post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in emergency medical responders after a disaster.


Participants in this study responded to Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in November 2013. They completed the Psychological Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (PsySTART) responder triage tool, the PTSD Checklist (PCL-5) and the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ-8) shortly after responding to this disaster. The relationships between these 3 tools were compared to determine the association between different risk exposures while providing disaster medical care and subsequent levels of PTSD or depression.


The total number of PsySTART responder risk factors was closely related to PCL-5 scores ≥38, the threshold for clinical PTSD. Several of the PsySTART risk factors were predictive of clinical levels of PTSD as measured by the PCL-5 in this sample of deployed emergency medical responders.


The presence of a critical number and type of PsySTART responder self-triage risk factors predicted clinical levels of PTSD and subclinical depression in this sample of emergency medical workers. The ability to identify these disorders early can help categorize an at-risk subset for further timely "stepped care" interventions with the goals of both mitigating the long-term consequences and maximizing the return to resilience. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:19-22).


disaster response; medical workers; mental health triage

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