Whether it’s dealing with recovery after a natural disaster, conducting research to better understand the effects of the Gulf Oil Spill on Mississippi coastal residents seeking mental health services or working to enhance intervention and outreach efforts for a range of mental health concerns – both locally and nationally, the Clinical Disaster Research Center at the University of Mississippi plays a vital role with respect to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts, focusing on mental health.
Stefan Schulenberg, UM associate professor of psychology and center director, leads a team of graduate and undergraduate students in research, training/teaching and service efforts. Schulenberg is licensed as a psychologist in Mississippi, a supervising psychologist in the university’s Psychological Services Center, a member of the state of Mississippi’s Disaster Response Network and a mental health volunteer and supervisor with the American Red Cross.
“I served as a consultant relating to Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Oil Spill and also the tornados of April 2011,” Schulenberg said. “Our research team has sponsored the Out of the Darkness walks the previous three years with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. These efforts are to help raise awareness and funding for suicide awareness intervention and prevention efforts, nationally and locally.”
Other projects include:
- studying student, faculty and staff attitudes on campus regarding disaster preparedness to help enhance University educational and training efforts;
- disaster response and recovery efforts on campus and in the community, working collaboratively with the University as well as disaster relief organizations;
- training others with respect to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts with a focus on stress management and mental health;
- studying the impact of natural and man-made disasters on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.