Associate Professor Karla Vermeulen was interviewed for an APA Monitor article on resilience in the face of disaster.
The full article is available here, but check out this excerpt:
Because these shifts are largely due to the warmer temperatures associated with global climate change, climatologists expect extreme disasters like these to continue uprooting individuals and communities, pointing to a growing need for psychological aid. At the same time, the increasingly volatile climate makes providing such aid a challenge. Disaster mental health response is particularly difficult with these increasingly frequent natural disasters because the practice has traditionally focused on restoring a sense of stability and helping people return to their predisaster functioning.
“It was already difficult to know how to help people feel safe when in many parts of the world, the threat of these disasters has become the new normal. Now, we have that chronic threat layered on top of acute anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Karla Vermeulen, PhD, deputy director at the Institute for Disaster Mental Health at the State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltz).
“The word ‘unprecedented’ gets used a lot these days, but when it comes to disaster mental health, this really is a new world,” she says. “We’re going to need to adapt our interventions to address the resulting complex stress.”