What Every Psychiatrists Should Know about the Mental Health Effects of Natural and Man-Made Disasters and Emergencies
Presenting Author(s): Dr. Vincent I.O. Agyapong
, MD, PhDDate and time:
23 Mar 2019 from 14:10 to 14:50Location: Wildrose Salon C
- Conference participants would have a better appreciation of the types of man-made and natural disasters and emergencies that could impact mental health of a population;
- Conference participants would have an appreciation of socio-demographic and clinical as well as exposure related vulnerability correlates for the common mental disorders experienced at the population level after man-made and natural disasters and emergencies; and
- Conference participants would have an appreciation of socio-demographic, clinical and other protective correlates for the common mental disorders experienced at the population level after man-made and natural disasters and emergencies.
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Man-made and natural disasters often create humanitarian crisis and emergencies. These emergencies often lead to a wide range of
problems which are experienced at the individual, family, community and societal levels. At every level, emergencies erode protective
supports that are normally available, increase the risks of diverse problems and tend to amplify preexisting problems. Man-made
disasters such as wars, sexual violence, hunger and terror attacks, and natural disasters including wildfires, flooding, hurricanes and
earthquakes do not only affect victims and communities in the short term but also in the medium and long term. Apart from the material
loss that often results from disasters and emergencies, the mental health effects on affected victims and communities have been well
researched, including in Alberta. The recent wildfires in Fort McMurray and British Columbia, the terror attacks in Toronto, Quebec City
and Edmonton, the floods in Slave Lake and Calgary, and the daily histories of childhood sexual trauma elicited by psychiatrists in
Alberta during psychiatric history taking bring to bear the importance of providing education to mental health professionals and
psychiatrists on the potential mental health effects of these man-made disasters and emergencies as part of a public health and disaster
preparedness strategy which will help the mental health community in Alberta and Alberta Health Services respond better to future