Cultural competence in psychological interventions for psychotrauma following natural disasters: An international perspective
Warfa N., Chalangary J., St. Amour A., Mollica R., Bhui K.
Objective: A four-fold increase in natural disasters over the past three decades (World Health Organization [WHO] 2008) has generated a greater need to guide mental health practitioners who confront the aftermath of natural disasters. This paper aims to review the literature on response to psychological interventions following natural disasters and whether these are culturally competent. Method: Critical review of the current literature. The economic cost and human losses of natural disasters appears to be increasing in many cities across the world (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2010). Cities are also growing in size and the growing population density clearly makes such places vulnerable to more casualties should natural disasters occur unexpectedly. We will provide an international perspective on the effectiveness and the cultural sensitivity of the psychological interventions used for psychotrauma management in natural disaster settings. Results: The international literature shows plenty of data that highlight the extent of the damage as well as the humanitarian efforts that have been instigated to alleviate physical suffering and trauma from a variety of natural disasters. However, there is little in the research and practice evidence of the cultural acceptability or congruence of some of the interventions that are offered. Conclusions: An alternative approach is to encourage resilience and disaster management informed by cultural competence and research that charts and monitors outcomes and interventions to improve the resilience of the local populations who live in areas which are most vulnerable to future natural disasters. © 2014 Giovanni Fioriti Editore s.r.l.