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Title: Incorporating Mental Health Research into Disaster Risk Reduction: An Online Training Module for the Hazards and Disaster Workforce
There is an expansive and growing body of literature that examines the mental health consequences of disasters and large-scale emergencies. There is a need, however, for more explicit incorporation of mental health research into disaster risk reduction practices. Training and education programs can serve as a bridge to connect academic mental health research and the work of disaster risk reduction practitioners. This article describes the development and evaluation of one such intervention, the CONVERGE Disaster Mental Health Training Module, which provides users from diverse academic and professional backgrounds with foundational knowledge on disaster mental health risk factors, mental health outcomes, and psychosocial well-being research. Moreover, the module helps bridge the gap between research and practice by describing methods used to study disaster mental health, showcasing examples of evidence-based programs and tools, and providing recommendations for future research. Since its initial release on 8 October 2019, 317 trainees from 12 countries have completed the Disaster Mental Health Training Module. All trainees completed a pre- and post-training questionnaire regarding their disaster mental health knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests demonstrated a significant increase in all three measures after completion of the training module. Students, emerging researchers or practitioners, and trainees with a high school/GED education level experienced the greatest benefit from the module, with Kruskal–Wallis results indicating significant differences in changes in knowledge and skills across the groups. This evaluation research highlights the effectiveness of the Disaster Mental Health Training Module in increasing knowledge, skills, and attitudes among trainees. This article concludes with a discussion of how this training can support workforce development and ultimately contribute to broader disaster risk reduction efforts.  more » « less
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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
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National Science Foundation
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