George Doherty – Rural Disasters and Mental Health

Topics of conversation:

  • Mental health, crisis, stress and cross-cultural variables in rural areas
  • Culture and Rurality
  • Disaster and Crisis Impacts in Rural Areas
  • Rural medical doctors, medical staff, and mental health professionals
  • Changes needed in rural communities
  • Aftercare of first responders

George Doherty resides in Laramie, WY where he founded the Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Institute, Inc. He is currently employed as the President/CEO of this organization and also serves as Clinical Coordinator of the Snowy Range Critical Incident Stress Management Team. He has been involved with disaster relief since 1995, serving as a Disaster Mental Health Specialist with such incidents as the UP train wreck in Laramie, Hurricane Fran in North Carolina, the Cincinnati floods in Falmouth, KY and Tropical Storm Allison in Southeast Texas. Doherty is also a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice and has been an adjunct instructor for a number of colleges, including Northern Nevada Community College, Warren National University and the University of Wyoming.

George Doherty
George Doherty

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Crisis In The American Heartland: Disasters & Mental Health in Rural Environments: An Introduction (Volume 1)
George W. Doherty, MS, LPC
Rocky Mountain DMH Institute Press (2011)
ISBN 9781615990757
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (5/11)Read the review on

Synopsis: Who will step up to meet the challenge of the next rural crisis?
Rural practice presents important yet challenging issues for psychology, especially given uneven population distribution, high levels of need, limited availability of rural services, and ongoing migration to urban centers. It is critical that mental health professionals and first responders in rural areas become aware of recent research, training and approaches to crisis intervention, traumatology, compassion fatigue, disaster mental health, critical incident stress management, post-traumatic stress and related areas in rural environments. Critical issues facing rural areas include:

  • Physical issues such as land, air, and water resources, cheap food policy, chemicals and pesticides, animal rights, corruption in food marketing and distribution, and land appropriation for energy development.
  • Quality of life issues such as rural America’s declining share of national wealth, problems of hunger, education, and rural poverty among rural populations of farmers and ranchers.
  • Direct service issues include the need to accommodate a wide variety of mental health difficulties, client privacy and boundaries, and practical challenges.
  • Indirect service issues include the greater need for diverse professional activities, collaborative work with professionals having different orientations and beliefs, program development and evaluation, and conducting research with few mentors or peer collaborators.
  • Professional training and development issues include lack of specialized relevant courses and placements.
  • Personal issues include limited opportunities for recreation, culture, and lack of privacy.


Crisis In The American Heartland -- Disasters & Mental Health In Rural Environments
Crisis In The American Heartland -- Disasters & Mental Health In Rural Environments

Doherty’s first volume in this new series Crisis in the American Heartland explores these and many other issues. Each volume available in trade paper, hardcover, and eBook formats. Social Science: Disasters & Disaster Relief

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