Disaster Psychiatry

Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps

The Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps consists of health care and community professionals ready to assist with disaster and emergency recovery during a declared emergency situation. This program coordinates practicing and retired physicians, nurses, other medical and mental health professionals, and non-licensed citizens who are willing to respond to emergency situations and help address their community’s public health needs (e.g., administer immunizations, conduct health screenings, promote health and nutrition education, volunteering in community health centers and local hospitals).

DHMH Office of Preparedness and Response

The Maryland Office of Preparedness and Response website provides local and regional disaster advisories, general disaster preparation information, and a link to MD Responds which is an organization that provides community disaster assistance.  We live in a time of climate change, natural disasters, and fear of terrorism and pandemics.  This site is an important resource for physicians who have an obligation to care for patients during these potential crises.

SAMHSA Application for Disaster Responders

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a smartphone app with behavioral health information and resources for responders providing support to survivors of disasters.  The SAMHSA Disaster App is available in iPhone/iPad, Google Android, and Blackberry versions. Content includes brief refreshers on psychological first aid, suicide prevention, disaster mental health, and self-care. One section discusses the special aspects of working as part of emergency operations following terrorist events. All sections contain links to more extensive information on SAMHSA and other websites.

APA Resources for Disaster Psychiatry

Disaster psychiatry has an important role in prevention, response, and recovery. In times of disaster, the APA works to coordinate and disseminate valuable materials to those in the field. The APA website provides information on responding to disaster, including links for more details.  It also facilitates a network of psychiatrists interested in disaster psychiatry. The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress is a valuable resource for psychiatrists during natural disasters.