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Open AccessArticle

Investigating the Aftershock of a Disaster: A Study of Health Service Utilization and Mental Health Symptoms in Post-Earthquake Nepal

1
School of Social Work, University of Illinois Urbana—Champaign, 1010 W. Nevada St., Urbana, IL 61801, USA
2
Americares, 88 Hamilton Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902, USA
3
Department of Sociology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3340, USA
4
Social Science Baha, 345 Ramchandra Marg, Battisputali, Kathmandu, Nepal
5
Americares Nepal, Dhobighat 4, Lalitpur, State 3, Nepal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(8), 1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081369
Received: 12 March 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disasters and Their Consequences for Public Health)
Background: In 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, causing unprecedented damage and loss in the mountain and hill regions of central Nepal. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between healthcare access and utilization, and post-disaster mental health symptoms. Methods: A cross-sectional study conducted with 750 disaster-affected individuals in six districts in central Nepal 15 months post-earthquake. Anxiety and depression were measured through the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21). Healthcare utilization questions examined types of healthcare in the communities, utilization, and approachability of care providers. Univariate analyses, ANOVAs and Tobit regression were used. Results: Depression and anxiety symptoms were significantly higher for females and individuals between 40–50 years old. Those who utilized a district hospital had the lowest anxiety and depression scores. Participants who indicated medical shops were the most important source of health-related information had more anxiety and depression than those who used other services. Higher quality of healthcare was significantly associated with fewer anxiety and depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Mental health symptoms can last long after a disaster occurs. Access to quality mental health care in the primary health care settings is critical to help individuals and communities recover immediately and during the long-term recovery. View Full-Text
Keywords: disaster; mental health; access to care; healthcare utilization disaster; mental health; access to care; healthcare utilization
MDPI and ACS Style

Powell, T.; Li, S.-J.; Hsiao, Y.; Ettari, C.; Bhandari, A.; Peterson, A.; Shakya, N. Investigating the Aftershock of a Disaster: A Study of Health Service Utilization and Mental Health Symptoms in Post-Earthquake Nepal. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1369. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081369

AMA Style

Powell T, Li S-J, Hsiao Y, Ettari C, Bhandari A, Peterson A, Shakya N. Investigating the Aftershock of a Disaster: A Study of Health Service Utilization and Mental Health Symptoms in Post-Earthquake Nepal. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(8):1369. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081369

Chicago/Turabian Style

Powell, Tara; Li, Shang-Ju; Hsiao, Yuan; Ettari, Chloe; Bhandari, Anish; Peterson, Anne; Shakya, Niva. 2019. "Investigating the Aftershock of a Disaster: A Study of Health Service Utilization and Mental Health Symptoms in Post-Earthquake Nepal" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 8: 1369. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081369

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