The recent earthquake in Haiti has created a number of social and medical problems. Because of the severity of the situation, there has been an understandable neglect of the psychiatric problems which are occurring and which will continue to occur. Stress disorders and in particular Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will become endemic and in a country which lacks a strong medical infrastructure. This is not an unusual problem in this developing world but Haiti is a current example where a positive response can be implemented. There is a need to develop a paraprofessional training program to diagnose and to treat in a nonpharmacologic fashion the Post Traumatic Stress Disorders and other stress disorders that will develop. We are collaborating with two NGO’s that are on the ground in Haiti and will have access to the appropriate populations.
We need to raise funds to make this intervention possible and which will consist of three phases. The first is the development of a diagnostic tool that is culturally sensitive and can be implemented by paraprofessionals. The second phase is the actual training of the paraprofessionals to diagnose and treat. The final phase will be an evaluation of the effectiveness and value of the program. It will take approximately twelve months from inception to the final evaluation.
North Brooklyn Efforts
The failure to adapt adequately to stress can result in a variety of psychiatric disorders, including depression, addictive behavior, overeating, etc. The Woodhull Hospital, a City hospital located in North Brooklyn, serving Bedford-Stuyvesant and Williamsburg cares for a number of low income minority patients. We are proposing a program to serve as an outreach operation for Woodhull, to help the women and children in this community who do not require hospitalization or psychiatric medication. Woodhull has a large population of minority females and their offspring who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from familial abuse. We propose a nonpharmalcologic approach to help these individuals deal with their life stresses more effectively so as to prevent them from becoming psychiatric casualties. If we can reduce the inpatient and outpatient medical demands of this population it would be a fiscal benefit to the City of New York as well as a social benefit to the individuals involved.