Article

Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 279-288

Post-Disaster Mental Health Problems and the Utilization of Mental Health Services: A Four-year Longitudinal Comparative Study

  • Peter G. Van der VeldenAffiliated withInstitute for PsychotraumaInstitute for Psychotrauma Email author 
  • , Linda GrievinkAffiliated withCenter for Environmental Health Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
  • , Rolf J. KleberAffiliated withInstitute for PsychotraumaDepartment of Clinical Psychology, Utrecht University
  • , Annelieke N. DrogendijkAffiliated withInstitute for Psychotrauma
  • , Albert-Jan R. RoskamAffiliated withInstitute for Psychotrauma
  • , Frans G. H. MarcelissenAffiliated withInstitute for Psychotrauma
  • , Miranda OlffAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center/De Meren, University of Amsterdam
  • , Mariel L. MeewisseAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center/De Meren, University of Amsterdam
  • , Berthold P. R. GersonsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center/De Meren, University of Amsterdam

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

This study examined mental health problems and mental health services (MHS) utilization after a fireworks disaster among adult survivors and a comparison group. The disaster took place on May 13, 2000, in the city of Enschede, The Netherlands. Victims (N=662) participated in a survey 2–3 weeks (T1), 18 months (T2) and 4 years (T3) post-disaster. The comparison group consisted of non-affected people from another city (N=526). They participated at T2 and T3. Victims used MHS more often than the comparison group in the 12-month period before T2 and T3 (OR 3.9 and 2.4). Victims with severe depression and anxiety symptoms at T2 used MHS more often than participants in the comparison group with these symptoms (OR 2.6 and 2.0). After 4 years, MHS utilization among participants in both groups with anxiety symptoms did not differ, suggesting attenuation of the observed effects. Results suggest that after a disaster survivors with mental health problems are less reluctant to use MHS than under normal circumstances.

KEY WORDS

anxiety depression disaster mental health services post-traumatic stress disorder