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Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2012;14(2):134-40.

The role of law in addressing mental health-related aspects of disasters and promoting resilience.

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Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Law plays a critical role in emergency preparedness and disaster response by establishing an infrastructure for the response and facilitating coordination among the federal, state, and local governments. Once a disaster occurs, certain legal mechanisms are activated to ensure that individuals' needs for mental health care are met, both for pre-existing and emergent conditions. This includes the rapid deployment of mental health care personnel and the implementation of crisis counseling programs in affected regions. By facilitating an influx of resources, including personnel, supplies, and financial assistance, the law can help communities quickly rebound and return to a sense of normal. Drawing on examples from the United States, this article illustrates the diverse ways in which the law simultaneously addresses mental health-related aspects of disasters and promotes resilience within affected communities.

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