STAT

Opinion: Psychological first aid must be part of disaster relief

Psychological first aid — a strategy for addressing mental or emotional distress — should be an integral part of disaster relief efforts, not an afterthought.
Damaged houses on the hillsides in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, more than a week after Hurricane Irma made landfall.

My grandmother was filled with grief as she told me by phone about life on the island of St. Thomas after Hurricanes Irma and Maria had blasted through it. “Tears keep running from my eyes uncontrollably because everyone on the island is suffering,” she lamented, then paused, too sad to continue. I could picture her in her car charging her cellphone — the engine idling in the background. The decades-old mango tree that I had climbed as a child was now uprooted and stripped of all its leaves; the vibrant tropical landscape replaced by

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