Mentally Ill People Should Be Included In Disaster Plans
According to the researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, those people who are with physical injuries and trauma-related disorders should not be the only ones benefiting from such programs. They also said that people who are mentally ill are the ones who should benefit more from these programs because they are the ones who cannot advocate for themselves. Peter Rabins, M.D., M.P.H, said that given that disasters limit the natural resources, these groups are especially vulnerable mostly because they cannot say anything to defend themselves. Furthermore, he also said that little attention was given to the ethical challenges that arise when resources are limited and to the importance of identifying these challenges ahead in order to find no difficulties. It seems that these disaster plans have long overlooked past the people who suffer from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, dementia, bipolar disorder and even addictions and that can only be bad. In the article they wrote, Rabins and Nancy Kass, Sc.D., stated that there are many mentally ill people who have to depend on caretakers, because they can no longer make decisions or take care of themselves. That is why, they should be included in these disaster plans and adequate mental health services should be provided to them along more traditional triage. Rabins said in the article that people who take part in disasters always succumb in post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). However, there are also people who can be deranged even after a sudden devastation and those people should also be a part of such disaster programs and there should be someone to look after these people too.
Rabins and Kass sustained their point of view by stating that they found evidence that after the Hurricane Katrina, there were 22 percent of the people who took part in the disaster which terminated treatment right after the hurricane hit and that can be fatal to some of them. The authors of the article also advocate for people who suffer from chronic pain and depend on opiates. As a first step, the authors recommend, doctors and scientists alike should find some common ground and identify the people who need medication the most and include them in these disaster programs because a lack of treatment during times of calamities can be fatal for them. Furthermore, the authors also said that a training of volunteers from the communities should be made, because most people who are authorized to give help are always summoned in case of disaster and there are not enough trained professionals who would give people with disabilities a hand. The authors were taking about religious leaders and trained civilians who would provide at-risk people with basic materials and temporary services. Moreover, as a second measure, the authors also proposed that authorities should start distributing sedatives to manage short-term anxiety-related symptoms, in case of disaster. Back in 2001, when the 9/11 incident happened, many sedatives were distributed in New York City. Furthermore, they also recommend that planners should focus more on the challenges that they may face when trying to treat a patient suffering from a mental illness. What’s more interesting is that the authors also said that authorities should also be more careful when it comes to facilities which house people who suffer from dementia for instance, because those people, if moved, can become emotionally distressed because they may not understand what is going on. Thus, they say, instruction of people who would take care of people in case of disasters should include information about how to treat and act around patients who suffer from a mental illness, such as Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and even depression or addiction.11