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Preparing for Pandemic Avian Influenza: Ensuring Mental Health Services and Mitigating Panic

      ENSURING MENTAL HEALTH and substance use
      Substance use is now the preferred term because it does not imply blame for a medical condition.
      1Substance use is now the preferred term because it does not imply blame for a medical condition.
      (MH) services and mitigating panic is essential to reducing the severe disruptions associated with the secondary effects of pandemic avian influenza (PAI). PAI will have widespread primary effects of increased morbidity and mortality and the secondary effects of disrupting our economic, health, educational, and community institutions. Ensuring MH services to those experiencing severe loss or incapacity of family and friends; community leaders; and those requiring medical, psychological, and pharmacy services can mitigate both the primary and secondary effects of PAI. Unlike most natural or man-made disasters with which we have previous experience, such as Katrina or the 9/11 terrorist attacks, PAI is very likely to be national in scope and unlikely to be restricted to a local area or region. As a result, the mental health strategies that have been effective in the past for localized disasters are not likely to be effective during PAI. A national response will be required and planning must be undertaken now.
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