Pre-COVID-19 Physician Awareness of Mental Health Resources during and after Natural and Human-Made Disasters

Natasha Sood, Joshua P. Hazelton, Sue Boehmer, Robert P. Olympia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Physician mental health is critical during the recovery of natural and human-made disasters (NHDs), yet the accessibility of mental health resources to physicians has not been characterized. This study examined emergency medicine and trauma physician knowledge of and access to mental health resources in NHD settings. Methods: The survey was electronically disseminated to the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Association of the Surgery of Trauma between February 4, 2020, and March 9, 2020. The 17-question survey assessed physician awareness and access to emergency preparedness resources at their institutions. Results: Of the responders, 86% (n = 229) were aware of written emergency response plans for their facility. While 31% were aware of the hospital's mental health policies and resources outside of the emergency response plan, only 25% knew how to access these resources during and after NHDs. Finally, 10% reported the incorporation of mental health resources during institutional practice drills. Conclusions: Physicians reported knowledge of emergency preparedness policies; however, significant gaps remain in physician knowledge and access to mental health resources NHD settings. As NHDs increase on a global scale, it is critical for health systems to ensure accessible infrastructure to support the mental well-being of health professionals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere282
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Issue number15
StatePublished - Nov 3 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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