APA's Div. 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) and Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP) have proposed a list of Hurricane Katrina-related mental health recommendations to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who will help allocate federal funds to assist rebuilding in Katrina-affected states.

The recommendations, solicited from the community psychology listserv by one of Harkin's congressional fellows-psychology student Jon Miles-call for Congress to:

  • Develop and provide mental health services to assist evacuees coping with the tragedy.

  • Involve psychologists in the rebuilding and strengthening of communities in hurricane-affected areas.

  • Plan mental health services and support for evacuees' families and caregivers, as well as for responders and friends.

  • Consider the suspension of the No Child Left Behind Act-which among other stipulations, mandates high-stakes testing in K-12 schools-given the unrealistic demands it might place on schools affected or taking in evacuated children.

  • Set up a multidisciplinary task force to assess and address potential ethnic, racial and class conflicts that resulted from the hurricane.

  • Establish grants allowing mental health graduate programs to integrate disaster-relief training into the curriculum and to identify qualified professionals to offer such training.

  • Train mental health providers to provide culturally competent services to children, older adults, people with physical or mental disabilities, low-income people and racial and ethnic minorities.

-M. Dittmann Tracey


Further Reading

For a complete list of the recommendations, visit the Div. 17 Web site at www.div17.org.

The practitioner guidelines on working with older adults–a large segment of the Katrina-affected population, are available online.