This article reviews the accumulating scientific evidence demonstrating the negative impact caused by a cataclysmic event, such as bioterrorism, on the mental health of a community. Moreover, the potential mental health problems created by the continuing threat of possible future events are discussed. This close link among disaster events, stress, pain, and psychopathology is presented from a biopsychosocial perspective. Although there are now efforts being systematically developed to prepare for possible future biological or chemical terrorism events, there is currently also a critical need for early mental health intervention in response to future attacks to decrease psychiatric sequelae, especially workforce illness and morbidity. In this article, examples of such emergency bioterrorism preparedness, incorporating a major focus on mental health issues, are reviewed. Although these are now recognized needs, there is still not a concerted effort to prepare the population for the mental health sequelae that would be produced by such events.
- Mental health