Thai Nurses’ Experiences in Providing Mental Health Services to Survivors of the 2004 Tsunami Six Months Post-disaster

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Acharaporn Seeherunwong
Prapa Yuttatri
Atirat Wattanapailin
Atittaya Pornchaikate Au-Yeong


Purpose: This research explored Thai nurses’ experiences in providing mental health services sixmonths after the 2004 tsunami disaster, and their perspectives of factors that promoted and impededservices in the affected areas working in Phungha Province.

Design: A qualitative research design was employed.

Methods: Information was obtained from 16 nurses who had worked at a variety of health servicecenters. Data were collected by conducting 2 focus groups and 10 in-depth individual interviews, andanalysed by content analysis.

Main findings: Five themes were emerged. The first related to care during the crisis phase: Be afriend to face with struggle, helping to manage forthcoming problems, and being supportive. Themestwo, three and four related to management of mental health services: Informing people in thecommunity, so that individuals with stress were discovered; Working as a bridge, lack of participation;and Working separately, no collaboration, lots of confusion. The last theme related to mental healthservice providers: When the sky became bright, health care personnel became exhausted. Keypromoting factors of mental health services included having nurses to be responsible for providingmental health services in affected areas; having strong community networking and health volunteers;and learning management strategies from other areas. On the other hand, impeding factors for mentalhealth services included a lack of systematic management and having large numbers of survivors livingin the same areas.

Conclusions and recommendations: The findings suggest a plan for psychological assistance ofsurvivors of the disaster by having community participation as well as a plan for systematic managementof the people in the affected areas.

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Seeherunwong, A., Yuttatri, P., Wattanapailin, A., & Pornchaikate Au-Yeong, A. (2012). Thai Nurses’ Experiences in Providing Mental Health Services to Survivors of the 2004 Tsunami Six Months Post-disaster. Nursing Science Journal of Thailand, 30(1), 16–27. Retrieved from
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