208676 Collaboration and capacity building: Sustainable methods for promoting resilience and addressing mental health needs in a post-disaster setting

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ashley B. Wennerstrom, MPH , Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Benjamin Springgate, MD, MPH , Tulane University School of Medicine and RAND Corporation, New Orleans, LA
Brittany T. Butler, BA , REACH NOLA, New Orleans, LA
Hurricane Katrina had a profound effect on the mental health of New Orleans residents, greatly increasing the prevalence of symptoms of stress, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The simultaneous decimation of the city's health care infrastructure left New Orleans residents with a tremendous unmet need for mental health services. REACH NOLA, a new community-academic partnership of entities engaged in hurricane recovery programs in health and health care, created the Mental Health Infrastructure and Training Project (MHIT) to build community capacity to offer high quality, culturally appropriate mental health services. MHIT offers direct support services and training to clinical and non-clinical organizations and personnel. The project represents an innovation in mental health care training and delivery because it builds on evidence-based models of treatment while expanding roles for nontraditional providers such as lay care managers and community health workers, which are underutilized resources in addressing mental health concerns. After initially receiving external technical assistance, interested local project partners have assumed leadership roles in the development and teaching of the training curriculum. In addition to training several hundred clinical and non-clinical personnel and providing mental health services, the project has resulted in several novel collaborations among project partners and training participants that are contributing to hurricane recovery and community resilience.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify three reasons that collaboration and capacity building methods for mental health care are necessary in post-disaster settings 2. Illustrate mechanisms that may be used to foster local leadership in addressing mental health needs, and the role that leadership plays in building local capacity 3. Describe how a community-partnered, collaborative training and services program for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in a post –disaster setting can improve access to care while yielding additional benefits to the community

Keywords: Mental Health, Community Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the project manager for the REACH NOLA Mental Health Infrastructure and Training Project, which this presentation will describe.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.