Maui Wildfire Response: Resources for Mental Health Clinicians Who Are Helping
In the aftermath of the dreadful wildfires in Maui, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Committee on Psychiatric Dimensions of Disaster has prepared the following list of resources for mental health clinicians. These resources are fully vetted by physicians and are free to all who may need them.
For Clinicians, Communities, First Responders and Families
The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress’s Maui Wildfire response page features information and linked resources for families, responders, healthcare professionals, and community leaders that are brief and easy to use. They list actions to protect mental health, foster resilience, and promote sustainment during wildfires. Key downloads among their resources are:
- A pocket card covering the basics of Rapid Psychological First Aid (PDF).
- A pocket card on Helping Others Calm an Acute Stress Response (PDF), which can help in healthcare and non-health care settings.
APA’s resouces for patients and families, Coping After Disaster, provide basic overview of mental health after disasters.
APA’s resources for psychiatrists on Disaster Mental Health include research, educational and volunteer opportunities, fact sheets and more.
Medical Resources for Clinicians
The 2023 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines: Management of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder is the most current practice guideline in this area. An overview is provided in the Clinical Summary (PDF). One key highlight for psychiatrists to note is that group interventions after mass trauma are generally not recommended, particularly for expressing emotions (psychological debriefing). More details are available in the guidelines.
APA offers a free Disaster and Preventive Psychiatry online interactive training (with CME) designed for psychiatrists and other mental health and health care clinicians. Disaster and Preventive Psychiatry: Protecting Health and Fostering Community Resilience, released in May 2023, addresses the full spectrum of public mental health impact, risk, and actions to protect mental health and foster community resilience.
The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress’s Curriculum Recommendations for Disaster Behavioral Health Professionals (PDF) provides an outline of core topics of mental health in disasters and distills down useful and practical content. It is designed for developing education and training and informing policymakers and disaster planners/managers on best practices to protect mental health.