Objectives: I investigated the effectiveness of Psychosocial Care, a community-based mental health initiative for survivors of the 2004 tsunami disaster in India.
Methods: Mental health teams from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in India implemented a train-the-trainer model of psychosocial care in one of the worst tsunami-affected areas of south India. Three months of psychosocial care was provided for an intervention group of women, but not for a control group recruited from an exposed neighboring village. Impact of Event Scale (IES) scores--both total scores and scores for subscales on hypervigilance, avoidance, and intrusion--were compiled for both the intervention and control groups and used as outcome measures.
Results: For the intervention group, posttest total IES and subscale scores were significantly lower than pretest scores (P < .001), indicating improvement in symptoms. Posttest total IES and subscale scores were significantly lower for the intervention group than for the control group (P < .001).
Conclusions: Psychosocial care is an effective mental health strategy for women survivors of disasters and should be an integral component of disaster response in resource-poor countries.