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BOOK REVIEW Table of Contents   
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 94
Mental health care following disasters: A handbook for disaster workers

Formerly Professor of Psychiatry, Madras Medical College, Consultant Psychiatrist, Institute of Mental Health, Chennai - 10, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication13-Jan-2010

How to cite this article:
Nambi S. Mental health care following disasters: A handbook for disaster workers. Indian J Psychiatry 2010;52:94

How to cite this URL:
Nambi S. Mental health care following disasters: A handbook for disaster workers. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2010 [cited 2021 Oct 23];52:94. Available from:

Editors: Published by (first Edition) 2008

Dr. Nilamadhab Kar Quality of Life Research Printed by Quality of Life,

Dr. Baikunthanath Misra and Development Foundation Research and Development Foundation 130, Ratnakar Bag, Bhubaneswar - 751 018, India

Pages 126, Price 195.00 (India) £ 9.99

The mental health consequences of disasters have been the subject of a rapidly growing research literature in the last few decades.

The disasters may result from the destructive forces of nature (e.g. tsunami, earthquakes, cyclone), from human negligence (e.g. forest fires) or from deliberate acts (e.g. terrorist attacks). Disaster psychiatry includes anticipating the scope of behavioral, emotional and distress-related responses of individuals and communities, planning the response and ultimately providing care for those exposed to the trauma of disasters. Mental health care must be provided not only in hospital and clinics but also in environments near sites of chaos and destruction, where traditional medical resources may be scarce. Care-providers must use public health models health surveillance, outreach and education to overcome barriers to care.

This book titled 'Mental Health Care Following Disasters' - a handbook for disaster workers authored by Drs. N. Kar and B. Misra and published by the quality of life research and development foundation has been an excellent book for caregivers after disaster especially in the mental health arena. The disasters call upon all the resources that a community has. It is also the case of the speed of communication and the easy facility for travel, which means that many healthcare workers in the disaster zone come from outside the region. This book points out the importance from the cultural perspective. It stresses the importance of cultural competence and of utilizing the local strength and healing condition of the disaster area.

This book contains seven chapters that deal with the post-disasters psychosocial sequelae, psychological interven tions, preparations of a disaster worker and the role of the Mental Health Professionals in disaster management, apart from a flowchart of disaster mental health interventions, planning and preparedness.

It is apparent that Drs. N. Kar and B. Misra have personal experience of working to assist others during disasters. When we write about Disaster Psychiatry in India, it is essential to keep in mind the prevailing belief systems in the public and cultural aspects that may color the mental health sequelae. For example, it has been observed in the recent mental health survey among tsunami affected population in South India that the prevalence of PTSD is much less than in the western counter parts. Even though, the PTSD symptoms may be widely prevalent, the syndromal PTSD is much less in developing countries like India.

This book provides an overview of current knowledge about the Mental Health Consequences of Disasters and their management. This will throw more light on the issue of Mental Health Consequences of Disasters, stimulate acquisition of more knowledge through research, enhance our sensitivity and contribute to a more effective prevention and management of the behavioral effects of disasters.

Disasters have been happening since time immemorial and will continue to happen. The Mental Health Professionals must be prepared to face the mental health consequences effectively. In this direction, these authors have contributed to a great extent.

Correspondence Address:
S Nambi
Formerly Professor of Psychiatry, Madras Medical College, Consultant Psychiatrist, Institute of Mental Health, Chennai - 10
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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