Reiki & Posters

Constitution Hall Room 3

During this session, we provide an opportunity for attendees to talk to current students about their research into disasters and behavioral health care, along with a space for attendees to enjoy some reiki and acupuncture.


Addressing the Behavioral Health Needs of Refugee Populations during the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated a global mental health crisis, with the World Health Organization reporting a 25% increase in global prevalence of depression and anxiety. Studies suggest that in the midst of past global disasters, the needs of refugee populations have been neglected or overlooked. Refugees require targeted, culturally sensitive behavioral health interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are already enduring migration-related trauma and often rely on their tight-knit communities for support. Internalized cultural stigma of mental health illness in refugees may contribute to underutilization of behavioral health services. We conducted a study in an urban refugee population to determine 1) disparities in access to COVID-19 resources and information and 2) general, psychological, and socioeconomic challenges experienced by refugees in the Houston area during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our 49-question cross-sectional survey was administered to 44 refugees in Arabic, Burmese, Dari, English, Kiswahili, Nepali, Spanish, and Urdu. The majority of participants experienced anxiety about the effects of COVID-19 on their refugee community (89%), and heightened stress levels (75%). Financial difficulties were reported by 65%, specifically with paying rent (62%) and purchasing food (41%). Almost half relied exclusively on social media (48%) or family and friends (46%) for COVID-19 related news; 34% lacked access to essential information in their language. Our findings reveal systemic stressors predisposing refugees to negative mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing essential data to behavioral health responders when implementing effective response strategies. Interdisciplinary collaboration is essential; behavioral healthcare providers, epidemiologists, social workers, and interpreters must work closely with local refugee services. Resettlement agencies and spiritual or community leaders play an integral role in supporting local refugees and collecting demographic data, rendering them an asset for health officials. Lastly, providers must consider cultural complexities in refugee patients and use a trauma-informed approach to behavioral healthcare.
  • Presenter
    • Name: Ila Guatham
    • University: Baylor College of Medicine
    • Degree Pursuing: MD
    • Bio: Ila Gautham is a fourth-year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine pursuing Psychiatry. She is passionate about advocating for marginalized, multicultural populations and is Executive Director of the Human Rights and Asylum Clinic at Baylor. She has conducted research on refugee mental health, the effects of new legislature on survivors of human tracking, and the role of asylum clinics in forensic evaluations. Prior to medical school, she worked as an Emergency Medical Technician.

Climate Change and Hurricanes: Impacts on Communities and Disaster Relief Worker Mental Health

  • Abstract: First responders across the gulf south may be at greater risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder due to their constant exposure to critical incidents including hurricanes and torrential flooding. When a hurricane hits the state of Louisiana or surrounding areas, first responders are often living within the impacted community. This research examines the associations between PTSD and resilience and PTSD and social support among hurricane relief first responders. The current study investigates disaster relief first responder perceived social support, resilience, and PTSD. This study utilizes a demographic questionnaire, the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), the Interpersonal Evaluation List (ISEL), and the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). A Pearson correlation coefficient was computed to assess the relationship between PTSD symptoms and social support. There was a moderately strong negative correlation between the two variables, r = -0.34, N = 129. A Pearson correlation coefficient was computed to assess the relationship between PTSD symptoms and resilience. There was a moderately strong negative correlation between the two variables, r = -0.44, N = 129. Like previous research on first responders, individuals with higher levels of social support endorse lower levels of PTSD symptoms, and individuals with higher levels of resilience endorse lower levels of PTSD symptoms.
  • Presenter
    • Name: Laura Rohm
    • University: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Xavier University of Louisiana
    • Degree Pursuing: PsyD
    • Bio: My name is Laura Rohm, and I am a student at TCSPP at Xavier University of Louisiana. At this time, I am completing my clinical internship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, focusing on integrative healthcare. My current research interests include: resilience, social support, PTSD/acute stress, and natural disaster.

Camp Morning: Grief and Loss Support for Children and Families

  • Abstract: It is estimated that 5 million US children will experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 18 (Burns et al., 2020). 10- 20% of the bereaved population will experience complicated or prolonged grief disorder (Melhem et al., 2013). Children who experience prolonged grief are more likely than non-bereaved peers to suffer from depression, insomnia, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harming behaviors, and suicidal ideation (Bylund-Grenklo et al., 2016). A widely used intervention to address childhood bereavement are grief camps, but the current offerings of camps have inadvertently caused barriers to care due to issues of insufficient resources, a narrow scope of represented bereavement, lack of cultural considerations and limitations to providing follow-up care to children and families following the completion of camp. Camp Morning is an organization focused on grief and loss support for children ages 5-15 and their families. It seeks to address the current gaps in bereavement care by providing developmentally and culturally appropriate grief services to children while also increasing their caregivers’ and communities’ ability to support them in this process. By assessing the impact of services, Camp Morning can be replicated by other communities allowing for improved grief care to bereaved children in the United States. Providing quality care requires increasing competence in mental health professionals during a crisis or disaster. Competence of a therapist may be defined as the acquisition of the knowledge and skill needed to treat clients and achieve expected results (Fairburn & Cooper, 2011). Students who are engaged in experiential clinical training and en vivo supervision demonstrate an increased level of clinical skill and increase of knowledge in clinical application (Landreth, 2012).The Camp Morning model allows for a greater understanding of these change mechanisms enables the clinician to apply them more effectively to meet the particular needs of a crisis (Scharefer, 2009).
  • Presenters

Danielle Lascano, Ed.D., LMFT, RPT

    • University: Azusa Pacific University
    • Bio: Danielle Lascano, EdD, LMFT, RPT is the chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy and director of the MS in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in children and adolescents at Azusa Pacific University. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Registered Play Therapist and a Certified Grief Professional.

Kristen Watson, LMFT, RPT

    • University: Loma Linda University, Counseling and Family Services
    • Degree Pursuing: Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy
    • Bio: Kristen Watkins is an Assistant Professor in the Masters of Counseling with an emphasis in children and adolescents program at Azusa Pacific University. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Registered Play Therapist. She serves as camp director of Camp Morning, a grief and loss summer camp for children and support for their families.
Fri 1:02 pm - 12:00 am
100 max
acupuncture, day two, reiki, student posters