The H1N1 Crisis: A Case Study of the Integration of Mental and Behavioral Health in Public Health Crises

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73126-0901, USA.
Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness (Impact Factor: 0.7). 03/2012; 6(1):67-71. DOI: 10.1001/dmp.2012.2
Source: PubMed


In substantial numbers of affected populations, disasters adversely affect well-being and influence the development of emotional problems and dysfunctional behaviors. Nowhere is the integration of mental and behavioral health into broader public health and medical preparedness and response activities more crucial than in disasters such as the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic. The National Biodefense Science Board, recognizing that the mental and behavioral health responses to H1N1 were vital to preserving safety and health for the country, requested that the Disaster Mental Health Subcommittee recommend actions for public health officials to prevent and mitigate adverse behavioral health outcomes during the H1N1 pandemic. The subcommittee's recommendations emphasized vulnerable populations and concentrated on interventions, education and training, and communication and messaging. The subcommittee's H1N1 activities and recommendations provide an approach and template for identifying and addressing future efforts related to newly emerging public health and medical emergencies. The many emotional and behavioral health implications of the crisis and the importance of psychological factors in determining the behavior of members of the public argue for a programmatic integration of behavioral health and science expertise in a comprehensive public health response.

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Available from: Brian W Flynn, Jul 03, 2015
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    • "“Catch it, Bin it, Kill it”), that successfully increased the perceived efficacy and adoption of recommended behaviors [26]. Being worried about the disease was identified as an important predictor of compliance with recommended preventive behaviors, and to be associated with the volume of media attention and media reporting on the number of H1N1 cases [18,19,24,26,30-34]. Furthermore, many studies have presented evidence linking H1N1-related knowledge to people’s attitudes (which could be either positive or negative evaluations of particular behaviors or events) such as approval of the governments’ response to the pandemic [20,35-37]. "
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