A new article about the potential mental health consequences for workers in the Ebola regions of West Africa has today been published in the Journal of Mental Health.
The editorial is co-authored by March on Stress Director Professor Greenberg.
It discusses how trauma-exposed staff should be supported, including primary prevention, such as pre-deployment briefings; secondary prevention, such as peer support programmes like TRiM; and tertiary prevention, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing.
As Professor Neil Greenberg explains: “The experiences of paid and volunteer staff who have responded to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa are likely to be at least challenging and potentially traumatic.
“Apart from the demanding nature of organising or delivering ‘life or death’ healthcare in highly pressured circumstances, these staff may have to deal with the loss of close colleagues from the host country, and from their own team, as well as for deployed staff. This is in addition to directly facing the threat of becoming infected themselves.
“There is considerable evidence that most individuals who are exposed to highly challenging or traumatic events, exhibit resilience and do not suffer any long term negative psychological effects.
“However, inevitably a proportion will suffer distress, in most cases these symptoms resolve without the need for any formal interventions but some trauma-exposed individuals will develop formal mental health disorders including, but not limited to, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”
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