The Dialogue: Preparing for Incident Command and Self-Care

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United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Behavioral Health is Essential to Health, Prevention Works, Treatment is Effective, People Recover
A Quarterly Technical Assistance Journal on Disaster Behavioral Health eJournal — Volume 9, Issue 4

Preparing for Incident Command and Self-Care

Preparing for Incident Command and Self-Care

The final issue of The Dialogue, Volume 9, focuses on the "Preparedness" theme and highlights three important topics that can be addressed well before a disaster occurs. First, this issue highlights lessons learned from a former SAMHSA employee as she participated in incident command with the Agency after the 2005 hurricanes. The journal then shares information on the importance of self-care for disaster behavioral health responders—before, during, and after an incident. The final article stresses the importance of preparing accurate, timely messages in advance of a radiological incident.

Download the PDF and Read More  Dialogue Vol. 9 Issue 4 PDF (975 KB)

Articles Featured in This Issue
Incident commander

Special Feature: How Comfortable Are You With Incident Command?
By Brenda Bruun Mannix, Independent Consultant and Volunteer EMT

The author stresses the importance of knowing and practicing the Incident Command System (ICS) before an incident occurs. She shares her lessons learned after Hurricane Katrina, such as use ICS routinely, choose an incident commander carefully, be sure that those chosen to work on the team are comfortable in chaotic situations and know their jobs well, implement "compassion fatigue" mitigation techniques with employees, know when to scale back the ICS, and have a clear transition plan.

group of people at event

Self-Care After Hurricane Sandy Response Work
By Michele Vallone, LCSW

In this article, the author summarizes a disaster response self-care event sponsored by New Jersey Hope and Healing. Nearly 250 participants learned about topics such as mindfulness-based leadership, traumatic stress concerns with older Americans, disaster response to families with babies and children in crisis, and stress relief through participation in a drum circle.

radioactive symbol

From Radiological Incidents to Nuclear Calamities: Social, Behavioral, and Risk Communication Issues in Radiation Emergencies
By Steve Moskowitz, Director, New York State Office of Mental Health, Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response

Based on a keynote address delivered by Steven M. Becker, Ph.D., the author stresses the importance of understanding the human reaction and the need to provide timely, clear, actionable communications in the event of a radiological event. The author highlights stories from past radiological disasters including the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl and the 2011 combined earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear-plant emergencies that devastated Japan.

Man looking at laptop

Recommended Resource: New Webinar! Mass Casualty: Support and Response

This webinar provides information for Medical Reserve Corps team members, Commission Corps Officers, and other responders in their efforts to understand and address the needs of survivors as well as promote responders' individual and peer group resiliency. The speakers share information about the SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) website, including SAMHSA's guides, pamphlets, tip sheets, the Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series, The Dialogue, the DTAC Bulletin, prerecorded webinars and podcasts, and other disaster behavioral health-related items.

Download the PDF and Read More  Dialogue Vol. 9 Issue 4 PDF (975 KB)

About The Dialogue

The Dialogue is an arena for professionals in the disaster behavioral health field to share information, resources, trends, solutions to problems, and accomplishments. Read previous issues of The Dialogue.

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SAMHSA is a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

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