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