Disaster Mental Health Discussion

Disaster Mental Health Discussion

Disaster Mental Health Discussion



Question 1

Spreading of fake news in the social media sites has become a common trend in the modern world. The rise of conspiracy theorists has led to an increase in questions about various disasters that have happened in multiple fields. The changing media landscape has caused a lot of psychological discomfort to the victims of the tragedies and their families and close ones. It has been seen that people who are not appreciated in real life tend to find others with the same psychological issues on the internet and go on to empower each other. Raising questions about fake news and passing personal opinions on the media platforms may open up psychological wounds for those victims of the disaster or those related to them. Families have been seen living in fear after threats sent to them from social media platforms.

Question 2

Spreading of rumors in various groups of people through the media platforms has been on the rise. It has led to the news providing media like newspapers and TV stations to be untrusted by people. The spread of fake news can be curbed by doing thorough research and confirmation before letting out the information also to avoid causing psychological pain to people who might be affected. Further traumatization of the victims can be combated through the finding of new and better ways to let out accurate information and avoid bringing new ideas about a disaster when it has already been solved .such information should be discrete and not let out carelessly since it can cause psychological traumatization. The government should also make an effort to stop and deal with the individuals involved in spreading false information and ideas through social media platforms.


Michael Barbaro. (2018, May 24). Listen to ‘the Daily’: Putting ‘Fake news’ on trial. The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/24/podcasts/the-daily/sandy-hook-alex-jones-infowars-lawsuit.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fthe-daily&action=click&contentCollection=podcasts®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=collection



1.Discuss the ways that the changing media landscape is affecting the psychosocial consequences of the disaster, for better or for worse.

The media plays a crucial role in the public’s life, bringing positive and negative psychosocial effects of a disaster. Psychosocial consequences usually occur during and after a disaster, and these can be extended in the long-term. Disaster sufferers can continue experiencing physical, psychological, and emotional anguish, depending on their exposure to news, social media interactions, and conspiracy theories. The conspiracy theorists Alex Jones, for example, aggravated Sandy’s trauma Hook victims by publicly harassing them (Barbaro, 2018). Parents could experience emotional pain if they are accused of staging the deaths of their children. Hopwood and Schutte (2017) illustrate that exposing major disasters on media can have negative psychological consequences. Most studies have also established that receiving information on major disasters is similar to experiencing an actual event (Hopwood & Schutte, 2017). Generally, conspiracy theories by Alex Jones increased depression, fear, and anxiety among the Sandy Hook victims. Evidence also reveals that there is a connection between watching the disaster coverage on television and panic or post-traumatic stress. On a positive note, the media can help to form online communities that share similar interests. Disaster sufferers can, therefore, connect and share stories to enhance their recovery by reaching out to each other which poses to motivate them in resilience. Overall, the media aims to attract followers and earn money. Thus, it gains profits by escalating psychological consequences.

2-Reflect on the ways that media (social or otherwise) positively and negatively impact crisis management. How can we quell the rumor mill? How do we combat further traumatization?

Media can have advantages or disadvantages in crisis management. Firstly, social media provides a platform for the public and relevant organizations to share ideas. For example, Instagram or Twitter media enables people to raise their issues and concerns. People can debate and sharing information as well as ideas via social media sites to promote crisis management. Social media can stimulate material and monetary donations to help disaster victims (Alexander, 2014). Secondly, the media allows by supporting people to collaborate to solve crises. It can mobilize leadership, skills, support systems, and logistics. Besides performing the mobilization role, the media can serve as a monitoring and assessment tool. It helps people to gather information and monitor programs to enhance crisis management (Alexander, 2014).
In contrast, social media can be the source of harmful rumors and inaccurate information. Most studies stated people who feel attention or nervous should stay away from social media during crises that can fuel unrest and dramatization. The spread of false data can increases confusion during the onset of disasters (Alexander, 2014). Hence, it is vital to control the spread of rumors. Relevant authorities, for instance, should monitor social sites to identify misleading information.

Lastly, organizations should use their social media platforms to communicate. It is vital to share encouraging or healing stories to decrease further traumatization. The public should learn how to use social media productively especially in crisis circumstances by sharing valuable information and disregarding fake data.

Alexander, D. E. (2014). Social media in disaster risk reduction and crisis management. Science and Engineering Ethics20(3), 717-733.

Barbaro, M. (2018, May 24). Listen to ‘The Daily?: Putting ‘Fake News? on Trial. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/24/podcasts/the-da…

Hopwood, T. L., & Schutte, N. S. (2017). Psychological outcomes in reaction to media exposure to disasters and large-scale violence: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Violence7(2), 316-327.

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During the last decade, social media has become an essential source for news and updates in different fields. According to Alexander (2014), social media is the second preferable news source after television for Americans. Nowadays, I believe social media has become the number one source of news. We see hundreds of government organizations of different countries and even government leaders using various platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to deliver messages. However, using or relying on social media for news during emergencies is a double-edged sword. Utilizing different types of social media during disasters could be positive or negative, based on many factors. For example, age is a factor because older adults tend to accept news only from official sources (Alexander, 2014). Other factors could be related to gender, and community awareness to stope or decrease rumors. False news can result in adverse psychological effects and vice versa.

1.Discuss the ways that the changing media landscape is affecting the psychosocial consequences of disaster, for better or for worse.

The media landscape can improve or decrease different aspects of the community’s psychosocial status. No one can be sure claiming that media content during a disaster can affect people in one particular way, especially when there is a diversity of the community (e.g., young, elderly, people with mental health conditions) all have access to social media. Hopwood & Schutte (2017), conducted a meta-analysis study that discussed the different opinions/studies regarding the effect of media exposure during disasters widely. Many studies concluded that exposure to social media during disasters could indirectly traumatize the community (Hopwood & Schutte, 2017). On the other hand, a significant number of studies concluded that there was no relationship between exposure to news after the disaster and negative psychological impacts.

Nevertheless, Hopwood & Schutte, 2017, concluded that communities with a history of disasters and violence are more susceptible to negative psychological impacts. However, the psychological effect of exposure to social media during emergencies can be seen today during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people and even organizations argue the virus is not contagious as the “media portray it,” while others argue those people are following the conspiracy theory. The psychosocial impact of that can be seen clearly through people’s daily activities when others take precautions very seriously while others are not.

2.Reflect on the ways that media (social or otherwise) positively and negatively impact crisis management. How can we quell the rumor mill? How do we combat further traumatization?

One of the most effective measures to reduce rumors is to establish official platforms or official accounts in existing media platforms to keep people updated with correct information. In the absence of official news or even if it was delayed, rumors take place. For instance, according to Castillo et al. (2011), as stated in Alexander (2014), in the aftermath of the 2010 Chile earthquake, the scarcity of information from official agencies was the main reason for rumors spread, which negatively impacted the community.


Hopwood, T. L., & Schutte, N. S. (2017). Psychological outcomes in reaction to media exposure

to disasters and large-scale violence: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Violence, 7(2), 316–327. https://doi.org/10.1037/vio0000056

Alexander, D. E. (2014). Social media in disaster risk reduction and crisis management. Science

and Engineering Ethics, 20(3), 717-33. doi: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.philau.edu/10.1007/s1194…


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