The Institute for Psychosocial Health was formed in 2006, following Hurricane Katrina. Disasters, pandemics, violent crime, oppressive poverty, acts of terrorism, and chronic or catastrophic illnesses can induce acute and chronic stress upon the individuals involved in the response and recovery efforts. Much research has been conducted concerning the mental health needs of trauma victims, seriously ill persons, and primary responders; yet few organizations have engaged in an ongoing partnership whereby cutting edge research is translated into practical training and service support to the healthcare and response community. Both survivors of and responders to traumatic events have an increased risk of alcohol and drug use, family breakdown, depression, anxiety, or other long-term physical and mental health effects which can plague their personal and professional lives.
Interventions such as psychosocial debriefings, enhanced clinical training, evidence-based program evaluation, and a supportive coaching relationship for responders and agency leaders are vital for quality healthcare delivery and for sustaining the psychosocial care workforce. Responders such as military, police, fire personnel, medical care providers, counselors, agency leaders, and even supply distributors are highly susceptible to the stress of transferred trauma from their intense exposure to trauma survivors or individuals in chronically poor health. The results are high costs in terms of the excruciating toll on physical health, psychosocial functioning, turnover in agency personnel, and inconsistency in health service delivery. By bringing together the best minds, evidence-based research, and outstanding leaders and trainers from multiple disciplines, the Institute for Psychosocial Health offers leadership, collaboration, and service to the local, state, and regional community service network.