Performance Improvement 2008. What Characterizes Better Mental Health Responses to Survivors of Catastrophic Disasters Such as the Gulf Coast Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Rita?


A cross-site evaluation of the Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program was conducted to document the reach, quality and "pathways to excellence" across the various programs between November 2005 and February 2007. The program was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and implemented with the support of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Twenty-two crisis counseling programs in 17 States participated in the evaluation. During this time period crisis counselors documented 1.3 million encounters with individual counseling accounting for 56 percent, group counseling 12 percent, and public education activities 32 percent. In the Participant Survey 4,500 respondents completed the Counseling Outcomes and Experiences Scale.

Overall lower rates of post disaster distress were strongly related to four service delivery characteristics: more intensive services (longer sessions or repeated visits), participants being seen in their own homes, referrals for necessary psychological services, and less stressed providers. Future implications include the need to improve the overall quality of counselor training, increase counselor capacity to recognize and respond to more serious levels of participant distress, and improve counselor skills in eliciting participant stories and experiences.

Report Title: Cross-site Evaluation of the Crisis Counseling Program: 2005 Hurricanes Katrina/Rita/Wilma. Report may be obtained from Federal Contact
Agency Sponsor: SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Federal Contact: Nikki Bellamy, 240-276-2418
Performer: National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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"PerformanceImprovement2008.pdf" (pdf, 1.29Mb)

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