Psychological service providers are perhaps more prone to secondary traumatic stress effects than other personnel, because of their openness to others’ wounds. Therefore much of what has been said for emergency and recovery service personnel applies even more so for the psychological service providers. Preimpact Assessment. Psychological service providers need to be assessed organisationally as teams and individually for their training and preparedness for disaster work. This is done according to the criteria in chapter 4. Assessment of needs and resources are made to ensure best possible matching. Intervention. If denial is present about the importance of training and preparedness for disaster work, it should be addressed organisationally and individually by the various mental health disciplines offering specialist education and training. Practical organisational preparations include readiness for release of appropriate groups and individuals, preparing their rostering for service and making provisions for others to do extra duties without complaints in their place. Preparation for action in a current disaster includes activation of communication networks, obtaining as much briefing as possible and rehearsing procedures. Interventions ensure most appropriate matching of resources with needs. Potential stresses and stress responses in the team and oneself are anticipated individually and in group settings. Impact Psychological service personnel who are impacted like the rest of the affected population, need help in similar ways to other members of the population.
Those who are serving with other rescue personnel may themselves need support with breaks, rostering, decompression, demobilization and defusion.
Post-impact Psychological service groups will include those who have been involved in the preimpact and impact phases and those who have mobilised only in the post impact phase.
58 Assessment. Those who have mobilised in the pre-impact phase now monitor their preparations and assess how they matched impact needs. They assess successes and failures, costs on themselves and resources to match further needs. Psychological service groups and individuals