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Collective ConvictionThe Story of Disaster Action$
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Anne Eyre and Pam Dix

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381236

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781781381236.001.0001

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Mad, Bad or Sad? People’s Treatment after Disaster

Mad, Bad or Sad? People’s Treatment after Disaster

(p.69) Chapter 6 Mad, Bad or Sad? People’s Treatment after Disaster
Collective Conviction

Anne Eyre

Pam Dix

Liverpool University Press

This chapter assesses how, in the years following their tragedies, the individuals, family, and survivor support groups that make up the membership of Disaster Action actively fought to be heard and collectively campaigned for change. At worst, survivors and the bereaved were approached as psychiatric cases (and therefore interesting research subjects) and at best, as helpless individuals unable to cope or know what was in their best interests. At the same time, a 'disaster victim support industry' began to emerge, with ever increasing numbers of 'experts' ready to step into the aftermath of disasters. It soon became clear that many of these experts had to be challenged in their understanding of the psychological impact of trauma. Over time it began to be appreciated that what was needed was planned, well-coordinated, and proactive support, offered by those appropriately trained and experienced to understand and address the particular circumstances and psychosocial consequences of disasters. Despite the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline and recommendations concerning diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and indeed other adverse reactions and mental health conditions, the experience of those who contact Disaster Action for support shows that even now it remains difficult for those affected by trauma to access the specialist care that they might benefit from.

Keywords:   disaster survivors, bereaved people, victim support, trauma, proactive support, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health, Disaster Action

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