PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine Medical Center is working to prepare a group to deal with a mass casualty event, should one ever happen locally.
The team Maine Med is putting together would specifically deal with mental health issues. A trauma expert from Israel has visited Portland to train a group of people to council people during a disaster.
Maine Med has been working on this project for about three years now. It's called the Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team. If a mass casualty event were ever to happen in the region, this team of experts would be trained to help the community cope. Dr. Rony Berger is a psychologist and a trauma preparedness expert. He has worked in counseling during some of our nation's worst tragedies such as Columbine and Katrina. He says if mental health is not addressed immediately following a disaster, people can develop physical health problems.
"There are psychological interventions that you need to take in order for the people to calm down," Berger said. "Then you need to take care of the long term affect, families, people around them, and you need to identify those who need help and the problem is often-times those people go undetected."
Dr. Berger will be sharing these skills with about sixty mental health and emergency response workers from the community during a hand-on training seminar Wednesday.