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Identify resource material on chemical/biological agents, stress reduction after other traumas, and disaster response services, and enlist the help of mental health professional societies in developing a training program for mental health professionals. The key to success in this attempt will be offering continuing education credits and certification for mental health providers trained in chem/bio attack response.


Identify suitable psychological screening methods for use by mental health providers and possibly first responders, differentiating adjustment reactions after chem/bio attacks from more serious psychological illness (e.g., panic disorder, PTSD, psychosis, depression), and organic brain impairment from chemical or biological agents. Research to identify trauma characteristics and behavior patterns that predict long-term disability may be necessary.


Develop health education and crisis response materials for the general public, including specific communication on chemical or biological agents. Additional information is needed on risk assessment/threat perception by individuals and groups and on risk communication by public officials, especially the roles of both the mass media and the Internet in the transmission of anxiety (or confidence). Some information is available in EPA studies of pollutants and toxic waste, but there is little or no systematically collected data on fears and anxieties related to the possibility of purposefully introduced disease.


Evaluative research is needed on interventions for preventing or ameliorating adverse psychological effects in emergency workers, victims, and near-victims. Specific crisis intervention methods may be necessary for chemical or biological terrorist incidents, but in the absence of such incidents researchers might draw on studies of chemical spills, epidemics of infectious disease, and more conventional terrorist incidents.

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