The Integration of Mental and Behavioral Health Into Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2012 Mar;6(1):60-6. doi: 10.1001/dmp.2012.1.


The close interplay between mental health and physical health makes it critical to integrate mental and behavioral health considerations into all aspects of public health and medical disaster management. Therefore, the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) convened the Disaster Mental Health Subcommittee to assess the progress of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in integrating mental and behavioral health into disaster and emergency preparedness and response activities. One vital opportunity to improve integration is the development of clear and directive national policy to firmly establish the role of mental and behavioral health as part of a unified public health and medical response to disasters. Integration of mental and behavioral health into disaster preparedness, response, and recovery requires it to be incorporated in assessments and services, addressed in education and training, and founded on and advanced through research. Integration must be supported in underlying policies and administration with clear lines of responsibility for formulating and implementing policy and practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Behavioral Medicine / methods*
  • Behavioral Medicine / organization & administration
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Disaster Medicine
  • Disaster Planning / methods*
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration
  • Disasters*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Public Health
  • Relief Work*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • United States
  • United States Government Agencies