Additional material

Multidisciplinary Guideline for Early Psychosocial Interventions

This evidence-based multidisciplinary guideline on early psychosocial interventions has been developed as a response to the observation that aftercare is given in many different ways, and that often those who are affected are not always given the best (‘state of the art’) care. This guideline is a means for providing help with which in accordance with the latest insights from science and based on (systematically collected) practical experience, answers are given to the question of what to do, and what not to do, in the first six weeks after a disaster, terrorism or other shocking event.

The guideline on early psychosocial interventions gives recommendations for helping people who are involved in carrying out early psychosocial interventions in the first six weeks after disasters, terrorism and other shocking events, namely events of a sudden, unexpected and violent nature. These include events that cause actual death or the threat of death or serious injury, or that pose a threat to the physical integrity of those affected or of others. The person who is affected experiences reactions of intense anxiety, helplessness or horror (DSM-IVTR, APA 2000).

The guideline has been developed largely for major disasters (including terrorist attacks), primarily using literature on smaller-scale events. The study group has taken as its starting point the view that this literature can be used for this guideline, given the comparability of the effects of small-scale incidents and large-scale events and the absence of studies to show the opposite. Based on the results of scientific studies, knowledge from experience and other considerations, the guideline gives an overview of good (‘optimum’) ways to act in order to guarantee high-quality psychosocial care. With this, the guideline gives a direction as to what (question-led) early psychosocial interventions can involve in the first six weeks. The guideline can also be used for developing (further) legally required disaster and incident protocols for places where large groups of people are accommodated, for example care establishments, schools, sports facilities or prisons.