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Article   |    
Mental Health Responses in a Decade of Disasters: Australia, 1974-1983
Beverley Raphael; Warwick Middleton
Psychiatric Services 1987; doi:
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University of Queensland in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Royal Brisbane Hospital in Herston, Queensland

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Between 1974 and 1983, Australia experienced the Darwin cyclone, the Granville rail disaster, and the Ash Wednesday bushfires, each of which killed more than 60 people and caused significant emotional distress. Mental health response systems developed in the wake of the disasters varied in their level of sophistication and degree of acceptance, but they generally became better orchestrated and appreciated with each disaster. Lessons learned from research and review following one disaster were often applied in responding to the next. Research and review were particularly crucial in uncovering the presence of significant morbidity, including posttraumatic stress disorder, among relief workers and children and in highlighting the need for coordination of mental health services with other relief efforts. Many jurisdictions in Australia have since modified their disaster relief plans to include mental health services.

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