MU Researcher Gets Grant To Create Terrorism and Disaster Center

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COLUMBIA - MU researcher Brian Houston has received a $2.4 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to create a Terrorism and Disaster Center at MU.

The center will collaborate with teachers, counselors and mental health practitioners in disaster areas such as Joplin to develop better, more efficient ways of crisis management that will remain in effect months after most other forms aid for disaster-stricken places has stopped coming.

Houston told KOMU 8 News that the center will try to mitigate all consequences that come with disasters, even consequences that not many people immediately think about.

"Disasters typically have major consequences for communities and families in the form of destroying buildings and damaging the community. But beyond that, there are often mental health effects like depression or grief when these events ocur. And so, we don't necessarily fully understand those effects or how to prevents them or how to help people address them or even at what extent they resolve based on people's natural resilience. So, the more we can understand that, the more we can develop products and interventions and services to help address those needs," Houston said.

Houston also said that the center will be partnering with various community organizations in order to spread its influence as much as possible.

"We'll be developing intervention manuals, other informational resources and approaches that can be used in community mental health center, in schools and in faith-based organizations that work with children and communities," Houston said.

Houston said the grant is sufficient to keep the center open through September 2016 once the facility is operational, but is confident that more funding will come in time. Hiring has already begun for student and professional positions in the clinic.