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BACKGROUND: The post-disaster mental health crisis intervention (MHCI) system in China remains immature and unsystematic. We aim to report the perceptions of a large sample of MHCI workers and government administrators and provide recommendations for developing a national mental health disaster response management plan in China. METHODS: An in-depth qualitative study was conducted, collecting data from 20 focus-group discussions and 25 key stakeholder interviews. These recruited participants who had been involved in different types of disaster rescue across 7 provinces/cities where disasters have recently occurred. We used thematic analysis to analyze the data and relevant findings were extracted for policy recommendation. RESULTS: Mental health workers' perspectives were examined in detailed according to four core themes: forms of organization, intervention pathway, intervention strategy and technique, and public health information. Post-disaster MHCI should be approached in teams that are integrated with emergency medicine systems, and be led by unified command management. All levels of local health and family planning commission should prepare post-disaster MHCI work plans and build response teams/emergency centres. Future training for MHCI workers should focus on: building a sense of trust within the team; clarifying each member's role; strengthening the screening, assessment and referrals training for psychological professionals; and providing psychological intervention training for Chinese psychiatrists. It is necessary to set up guiding principles for disaster research ethics, mental health rehabilitation and media interaction. CONCLUSIONS: Through exploring and analyzing the perceptions of current disaster response mental health workers and government administrators, our findings provide essential recommendations for developing a national to county level post-disaster MHCI emergency management plan and can guide the formulation of relevant laws and regulation in China.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/s12889-018-6313-9

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMC Public Health

Publication Date

03/01/2019

Volume

19

Keywords

Crisis intervention, Disaster response, Public metal health, Qualitative, Adult, Attitude of Health Personnel, China, Disaster Planning, Female, Focus Groups, Health Personnel, Humans, Male, Mental Health Services, Middle Aged, Qualitative Research