Project: Yolanda

Super typhooon Yolanda/Haiyan struck Philippines on November 8, 2013


Brief Introduction

Super Typhoon Yolanda, also called Typhoon Haiyan, was one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded, and the deadliest typhoon to ever strike Philippines. Of the many areas affected by the cyclone in Southeast Asia, Philippines was hit the hardest. Typhoon Yolanda caused large scale destruction across the country, particularly Leyte, an island in the Visayas of Philippines.

Mental health victims of natural disasters are usually not impacted equally as different people may experience different aspects of the disaster. For example, stress caused by lacking food and water might be greater than that of losing a job (Lock et al., 2012). Although the severity of exposure is one of the strongest predictors of mental health among survivors of natural disasters (Norris, Slone, Baker, & Murphy, 2006), researchers still have not reached a compromise on its measurements. So this study aims at differentiating the high vs. low-impact stressors, and hence developing a brief event checklist that could serve as a screener for mental health outcomes.

Our Study

In this study, we will use secondary data collected by a Filipino-NGO in the Philippines two to three months after Typhoon Yolanda in order to examine the relationship between Typhoon Yolanda-related stressors and post-traumatic stress. We would provide psychological relief to survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban, the major city of Leyte. In addition to conducting workshops on psychological first aid and disaster recovery, we are also developing a longer-term mental health promotion plan with local professionals. We are currently developing a brief mental health evaluation inventory to more efficiently identify at-risk individuals.