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Responding to mental health needs in disasters: recommendations for policy and practice in Hong Kong
This policy brief outlines best practice for disaster psychology and the implementation of trauma-informed services in Hong Kong. Psychological services are an integral component of the public health response in complex emergencies.
Effective and efficient implementation of psychological services requires robust coordination within and between organizations. Resources must be made available for specialized training, applied practice and service delivery. The regulation of mental health providers is required to ensure that vulnerable populations receive evidence-based care that is tailored to their specific needs.
This document presents the following recommendations:
- Disaster mental health must be recognized as a specialty practice;
- Disaster mental health intervention training is required across health and community services;
- An integrated preparedness and response plan is needed;
- Formal governance structures are needed to support the implementation of evidence-based care;
- Monitoring, evaluation and research should accompany best practice;
- Parameters must be developed for involvement in international assistance;
- Recommendations for practice and policy include improving resources for healthcare staff training in disaster mental health intervention, strengthening communication and coordination in the field, and ensuring regulation of practice following disasters in Hong Kong.