Special Issue "Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Climate Change and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Lennart Reifels
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Interests: population mental health, disaster risk reduction, strategic climate change adaptation
Dr. Michel Dückers
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
NIVEL - The Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, Netherlands ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, Diemen, Netherlands
Interests: disaster health research, crisis management, disaster risk reduction, vulnerability studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The global increase in extreme climatic events and disasters, whether natural or human-induced, will have significant impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of affected populations. Despite a growing recognition of the importance of mental health and psychosocial support aspects in global disaster policy frameworks (such as the Sendai Framework, and the WHO Framework for Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management), the intersections of our current approaches to disaster risk reduction and existing efforts to address mental health and psychosocial aspects in disaster and emergency contexts are still relatively poorly understood. This Special Issue will therefore provide a unique opportunity to further examine these insufficiently explored themes and intersections through a disaster risk reduction lens across the various stages of the disaster life cycle and across geographies. More specifically, we are inviting scientific contributions (including conceptual and policy papers, empirical studies and systematic reviews) that advance our understanding of the mental health dimensions and risks of disasters and extreme climatic events and/or which focus on innovative strategies to more proactively and effectively reduce these risks at individual, community, population, health service system, national or global levels in future.

Dr. Lennart Reifels
Dr. Michel Dückers
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Disaster mental health
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Mental health and psychosocial support
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies
  • Extreme climatic events
  • Quality of psychosocial services in crises

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Psychological First Aid Training on Knowledge and Understanding about Psychosocial Support Principles: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020484 - 11 Jan 2020
Abstract
Psychological first aid (PFA) is a world-wide implemented approach to helping people affected by an emergency, disaster, or other adverse event. Controlled evaluations of PFA’s training effects are lacking. We evaluated the effectiveness of a one-day PFA training on the acquisition and retention [...] Read more.
Psychological first aid (PFA) is a world-wide implemented approach to helping people affected by an emergency, disaster, or other adverse event. Controlled evaluations of PFA’s training effects are lacking. We evaluated the effectiveness of a one-day PFA training on the acquisition and retention of knowledge of appropriate responses and skills in the acute aftermath of adversity in Peripheral Health Units (PHUs) in post-Ebola Sierra Leone. Secondary outcomes were professional quality of life, confidence in supporting a distressed person, and professional attitude. PHUs in Sierra Leone (n = 129) were cluster-randomized across PFA (206 participants) and control (202 participants) in March 2017. Knowledge and understanding of psychosocial support principles and skills were measured with a questionnaire and two patient scenarios to which participants described helpful responses. Professional attitude, confidence, and professional quality of life were assessed using self-report instruments. Assessments took place at baseline and at three- and six-months post-baseline. The PFA group had a stronger increase in PFA knowledge and understanding at the post-PFA training assessment (d = 0.50; p < 0.001) and at follow-up (d = 0.43; p = 0.001). In addition, the PFA group showed better responses to the scenarios at six-months follow-up (d = 0.38; p = 0.0002) but not at the post-assessment (d = 0.04; p = 0.26). No overall significant differences were found for professional attitude, confidence, and professional quality of life. In conclusion, PFA training improved acquisition and retention of knowledge and understanding of appropriate psychosocial responses and skills in providing support to individuals exposed to acute adversity. Our data support the use of PFA trainings to strengthen capacity for psychosocial support in contexts of disaster and humanitarian crisis. Future studies should examine the effects of PFA on psychosocial outcomes for people affected by crises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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Open AccessArticle
Association of Anxiety over Radiation Exposure and Acquisition of Knowledge Regarding Occupational Health Management in Operation Leader Candidates of Radioactivity Decontamination Workers in Fukushima, Japan: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010228 - 28 Dec 2019
Abstract
An operation leader (OL) of radioactivity decontamination workers is required by law to have accurate knowledge of occupational health management (OHM) such as working environment management, control of operations, and health management as a field supervisor in Japan. The purpose of the current [...] Read more.
An operation leader (OL) of radioactivity decontamination workers is required by law to have accurate knowledge of occupational health management (OHM) such as working environment management, control of operations, and health management as a field supervisor in Japan. The purpose of the current study is to examine the association between anxiety over radiation exposure and the possession/acquisition of the OHM knowledge required for OLs. In this cross-sectional study, data were collected before and after training sessions held by Fukushima Prefecture Labor Standard Associations in Fukushima, Japan, in 2017. Eighty-seven males who completed the questionnaires were enrolled to this study. As a result, acquisition of knowledge of working environment management was significantly associated with an increase of anxiety over radiation exposure after the session comparing the situation before and after the session (knowledge possession; odds ratio = 4.489; 95% confidence interval = 1.216, 16.571). In conclusion, acquisition of accurate knowledge of how to manage working environment management was associated with anxiety over radiation exposure. Although acquisition of said knowledge may contribute to the reduction of physical health risks, it may increase mental health risks. Both mental health support for OLs with accurate knowledge and educational support for those without accurate knowledge are required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Mental Health Risk Reduction)
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