Objectives:This review systematically explores the current available evidence on the effectiveness of interventions provided to first responders to prevent and/or treat the mental health effects of responding to a disaster.Methods:A systematic review of Medline, Scopus, PsycINFO, and gray literature was conducted. Studies describing the effectiveness of interventions provided to first responders to prevent and/or treat the mental health effects of responding to a disaster were included. Quality was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria, and the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklist.Results:Manuscripts totaling 3869 met the initial search criteria; 25 studies met the criteria for in-depth analysis, including 22 quantitative and 3 qualitative studies; 6 were performed in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs); 18 studies evaluated a psychological intervention; of these, 13 found positive impact, 4 found no impact, and 1 demonstrated worsened symptoms after the intervention. Pre-event trainings decreased psychiatric symptoms in each of the 3 studies evaluating its effectiveness.Conclusions:This review demonstrates that there are likely effective interventions to both prevent and treat psychiatric symptoms in first responders in high-, medium-, and low-income countries.
- low- and middle-income countries
- mental health
- posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)