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On initial presentation following the experience of disaster, routinely screen for the possibility of ASD and PTSD, and refer for comprehensive assessment if indicated. 

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If the individual is reporting significant distress in the post-disaster period and/or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning, it’s important to take action.

Quick tips

There are a range of screening and diagnostic tools available in the public domain, others are available via registration or at cost. Examples are noted in the Resources section below.

If diagnosed, provide or refer to specialist mental health practitioner who can provide a stepped or collaborative care model in which a person receives evidence-based treatment tailored to the severity and complexity of their needs.

Facilitate access to evidence-based treatments such as trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT), prolonged exposure (PE), cognitive processing therapy (CPT), trauma-focussed cognitive therapy (TF-CT), or eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR).

If access to these treatments is unavailable, refer to the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Complex PTSD to support clinical decision-making regarding treatment options, including consideration of medication for adults with PTSD.

Relevant Resources

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