"School violence, shootings in the workplace, and terrorist acts have increased Americans' exposure to mass violence during the past decade, and psychological interventions are increasingly among the first responses to it. It is vital to the health and well-being of the American people that effective interventions reach the people who need them in a timely and efficient manner," said LTC (Dr.) Elspeth C. Ritchie, U.S. Army, chairperson of the planning committee for the conference.
The report calls on the scientific community to develop a national research program to examine the relative effectiveness of early mental health interventions following exposure to mass violence. Early intervention is defined as any form of psychological intervention delivered within the first four weeks following mass violence or disasters. Examples of early interventions include brief, focused psychotherapeutic intervention and selected cognitive behavioral approaches.
The report says that some interventions -- including mass education via media outlets -- although beneficial, have the potential for unintended harm. The report recommends that the leadership select professionals who have the training, expertise, accountability, and responsibility required to provide these interventions. Also, the report cites some evidence that early intervention in the form of a single one-to-one recital of events and discussion of emotions evoked by a traumatic event does not consistently red
Contact: Rayford Kytle
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health