Psychological challenges of bioterror: Containing contagion

Gregory Saathoff, George Everly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this article, we have introduced the concept of shielding as a public mental health intervention. Shielding addresses the core elements of bioterrorism when we consider that bioterrorism is best understood as terrorism, i.e., psychological warfare, which merely employs biologic agents, not to kill, but to terrorize. It is, therefore, to some degree dependent upon widespread contagion. Shielding is not a panacea. It is one aspect of an overall response plan. Nevertheless, it represents a potentially useful "antidote" for the bioterrorist assault. Perhaps most significant among its putative mechanisms of action appears to be controlling contagion, both physical and psychological. In the final analysis, in the wake of a terrorist attack, physicians can physically immunize and treat those who require such attention. Engineers can reconstruct buildings and roads. But who rebuilds the essence of humanity which has been violently ripped away from those who suffered the terrorist attack? How do we reconstruct a belief in justice and safety in the wake of a mass terrorist attack? Without attention to mental health, i.e., the "psychological side of terrorism," we run the risk of rebuilding a nation without a spirit, without a vitality, without a sense of humanity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-252
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Emergency Mental Health
Volume4
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

Fingerprint

Terrorism
Bioterrorism
Psychological Warfare
Mental Health
Psychology
Antidotes
Social Justice
Biological Factors
Public Health
Physicians
Safety

Keywords

  • Bioterrorism
  • Contagion
  • Mental health
  • Shielding
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Psychological challenges of bioterror : Containing contagion. / Saathoff, Gregory; Everly, George.

In: International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Vol. 4, No. 4, 2002, p. 245-252.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{3b0dd251a6234884aee033fea1a1e3dc,
title = "Psychological challenges of bioterror: Containing contagion",
abstract = "In this article, we have introduced the concept of shielding as a public mental health intervention. Shielding addresses the core elements of bioterrorism when we consider that bioterrorism is best understood as terrorism, i.e., psychological warfare, which merely employs biologic agents, not to kill, but to terrorize. It is, therefore, to some degree dependent upon widespread contagion. Shielding is not a panacea. It is one aspect of an overall response plan. Nevertheless, it represents a potentially useful {"}antidote{"} for the bioterrorist assault. Perhaps most significant among its putative mechanisms of action appears to be controlling contagion, both physical and psychological. In the final analysis, in the wake of a terrorist attack, physicians can physically immunize and treat those who require such attention. Engineers can reconstruct buildings and roads. But who rebuilds the essence of humanity which has been violently ripped away from those who suffered the terrorist attack? How do we reconstruct a belief in justice and safety in the wake of a mass terrorist attack? Without attention to mental health, i.e., the {"}psychological side of terrorism,{"} we run the risk of rebuilding a nation without a spirit, without a vitality, without a sense of humanity.",
keywords = "Bioterrorism, Contagion, Mental health, Shielding, Terrorism",
author = "Gregory Saathoff and George Everly",
year = "2002",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "4",
pages = "245--252",
journal = "International Journal of Emergency Mental Health",
issn = "1522-4821",
publisher = "Chevron Publishing Corporation",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Psychological challenges of bioterror

T2 - Containing contagion

AU - Saathoff, Gregory

AU - Everly, George

PY - 2002

Y1 - 2002

N2 - In this article, we have introduced the concept of shielding as a public mental health intervention. Shielding addresses the core elements of bioterrorism when we consider that bioterrorism is best understood as terrorism, i.e., psychological warfare, which merely employs biologic agents, not to kill, but to terrorize. It is, therefore, to some degree dependent upon widespread contagion. Shielding is not a panacea. It is one aspect of an overall response plan. Nevertheless, it represents a potentially useful "antidote" for the bioterrorist assault. Perhaps most significant among its putative mechanisms of action appears to be controlling contagion, both physical and psychological. In the final analysis, in the wake of a terrorist attack, physicians can physically immunize and treat those who require such attention. Engineers can reconstruct buildings and roads. But who rebuilds the essence of humanity which has been violently ripped away from those who suffered the terrorist attack? How do we reconstruct a belief in justice and safety in the wake of a mass terrorist attack? Without attention to mental health, i.e., the "psychological side of terrorism," we run the risk of rebuilding a nation without a spirit, without a vitality, without a sense of humanity.

AB - In this article, we have introduced the concept of shielding as a public mental health intervention. Shielding addresses the core elements of bioterrorism when we consider that bioterrorism is best understood as terrorism, i.e., psychological warfare, which merely employs biologic agents, not to kill, but to terrorize. It is, therefore, to some degree dependent upon widespread contagion. Shielding is not a panacea. It is one aspect of an overall response plan. Nevertheless, it represents a potentially useful "antidote" for the bioterrorist assault. Perhaps most significant among its putative mechanisms of action appears to be controlling contagion, both physical and psychological. In the final analysis, in the wake of a terrorist attack, physicians can physically immunize and treat those who require such attention. Engineers can reconstruct buildings and roads. But who rebuilds the essence of humanity which has been violently ripped away from those who suffered the terrorist attack? How do we reconstruct a belief in justice and safety in the wake of a mass terrorist attack? Without attention to mental health, i.e., the "psychological side of terrorism," we run the risk of rebuilding a nation without a spirit, without a vitality, without a sense of humanity.

KW - Bioterrorism

KW - Contagion

KW - Mental health

KW - Shielding

KW - Terrorism

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0036769792&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0036769792&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

C2 - 12629842

AN - SCOPUS:0036769792

VL - 4

SP - 245

EP - 252

JO - International Journal of Emergency Mental Health

JF - International Journal of Emergency Mental Health

SN - 1522-4821

IS - 4

ER -