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Book and Media Reviews
September 22/29, 2010

Mental Health and Disasters

JAMA. 2010;304(12):1387-1388. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1382

I received this book for review about day 50 of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The initial explosion of that oil well platform in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in 11 deaths. Subsequently, the spillage of crude oil into the Gulf reached the shores of bordering states, with immediate and expected long-term effects on the fishing and tourism industries. By the time I began to write this review, articles in the popular press were reporting the mental health effects of this man-made disaster,1 reinforcing the importance of this book, the goal of which as stated by the editors and chapter authors is “to address crucial gaps in our knowledge by reviewing and synthesizing the existing literature on the mental health consequences of disasters, evaluating strengths and shortcomings of past and current methodologies, and suggesting a comprehensive overview of future directions for improved research about the mental health consequences of disasters” (p 1).

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