Cultural Competence

in Disaster Mental Health

APA, BRN, CA BBS, FL, NAADAC, NBCC, TX SBEPC, TXBSWE

A continuing education course for 3 ces

consisting of reading and taking a post-test on

Developing Cultural Competence in Disaster Mental Health Programs:
Guiding Principles and Recommendations

Acknowledgments
The document was written by Jean Athey, Ph.D., and Jean Moody-Williams, Ph.D., under Contract No. 99M00619401D with the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Portland Ridley was a contributing author and also served as the Government Project Officer. Susan R. Farrer, M.A., was the content editor of the guide. The SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center operated by ESI, under contract with the Emergency Mental Health and Traumatic Stress Services Branch (EMHTSSB)/CMHS, edited the document and designed the cover and layout for the publication. Numerous people contributed to the development of this document.


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Cultural Competence in Disaster Mental Health

Learning Objectives

The Clinician will be able to:

1. Describe the concept of cultural competence.

2. Explain the Cultural Competence Continuum.

3. Apply cultural considerations in a mental health disaster response.

4. Assess the nine guiding principles for culturally competent disaster mental health services.

5. Complete a Cultural Competence Checklist for Disaster Crisis Counseling Programs.


 

 
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Developing Cultural Competence in Disaster Mental Health Programs:
Guiding Principles and Recommendations


 

Houston, TX., September 2, 2005 -- A volunteer comforts a survivor from hurricane Katrina in the Houston Astrodome. Approximately 18,000 people are temporarily housed in the shelter at the Astrodome and Reliant center. The City of New Orleans is being evacuated following hurricane Katrina and rising flood waters. FEMA photo/Andrea Booher


Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction

This guide includes two sections and six appendices.

SECTION ONE explores the nature of culture and disaster. It begins by defining culturally related terms, discussing diversity within racial and ethnic minority groups, and describing cultural competence. It then discusses cultural competence in the context of disaster mental health services. Section One also presents the Cultural Competence Continuum and a list of questions to address in a disaster mental health plan. Readers seeking more detail about crisis counseling or disaster response and recovery may refer to other CMHS/FEMA publications. For example, the Training Manual for Mental Health and Human Service Workers in Major Disasters (DHHS, 2000e) provides a comprehensive overview of and essential information on training concepts on crisis counseling, including a training curriculum. Disaster Response and Recovery: A Strategic Guide (DHHS, Rev. ed., in press) also is a useful resource.

SECTION TWO sets forth nine guiding principles for culturally competent disaster mental health services and related recommendations for developing these services. It also presents the key concepts of disaster mental health; important considerations when working with people of other cultures; staff attributes, knowledge, and skills essential to the development of cultural competence; and a cultural competence self-assessment for disaster crisis counseling programs. In addition, Section Two provides suggestions for working with refugees and guidelines for using interpreters.

The appendices provide additional information that may be useful in developing cultural competence in disaster mental health.

APPENDIX A is an annotated bibliography of cultural competence resources and tools. Many of these resources provide detailed information about individual populations’ histories, immigration patterns, and experiences with stress and trauma.

APPENDIX B lists disaster mental health technical assistance resources and publications available through CMHS. Some of these materials discuss the needs and provision of services for special populations.

APPENDIX C lists online resources that provide community-specific demographic and statistical information.

APPENDIX D lists Federal, private-sector, professional, and other organizations with cultural competence expertise.

APPENDIX E is a glossary of terms associated with disaster mental health and cultural competence.

APPENDIX F is a Cultural Competence Checklist for Disaster Crisis Counseling Programs. Based on concepts discussed throughout this guide, the checklist covers essential principles for ensuring a culturally competent disaster mental health program.

References

SMA03-3828

 

All material appearing in this volume except that taken directly from copyrighted sources is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) or the authors. Citation of the source is appreciated.

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