During disaster relief, personnel’s safety is very important. Mental well being is a part of this safety issue. There is however a lack of objective mental well being monitoring tools, usable on scene, during disaster relief. This study covers the use of validated tools towards detection of psychological distress and monitoring of mental well being of disaster relief workers, during the Belgian First Aid and Support Team deployment after the Haiti earthquake in 2010.
The study was conducted using a demographic questionnaire combined with validated measuring instruments: Belbin Team Role, Compassion Fatigue and Satisfaction Self-Test for Helpers, DMAT PsySTART, K6+ Self Report. A baseline measurement was performed before departure on mission, and measurements were repeated at day 1 and day 7 of the mission, at the end of mission, and 7 days, 30 days and 90 days post mission.
23 out of the 27 team members were included in the study.
Using the Compassion Fatigue and Satisfaction Self-Test for Helpers as a monitoring tool, a stable condition was monitored in 7 participants, a dip in 5 participants, an arousal in 10 participants and a double pattern in 1 participant.
The study proved the ability to monitor mental well being and detect psychological distress, by self administered validated tools, during a real disaster relief mission. However for practical reasons some tools should be adapted to the specific use in the field. This study opens a whole new research area within the mental well being and monitoring field.
Citation: Van der Auwera M, Debacker M, Hubloue I. Monitoring the mental well-being of caregivers during the Haiti-earthquake.. PLoS Currents Disasters. 2012 Jul 18