Article ID: 2019-0011
Aim: A major earthquake is expected in Japan. Previous reports suggest that persons with mental health issues may not evacuate during earthquakes, owing to anxieties about living in evacuation centers. This study aimed to examine the disaster evacuation intentions and related factors of Support Office for Continuous Employment (SOCE)-registered persons with mental health problems living in areas at risk of earthquake damage.
Methods: With the cooperation of the SOCE, this study recruited 52 persons with mental health problems. The K-DiPS® Checklist was used to collect demographic and disaster-related information, and assessed preparedness for disaster, evacuation intention, problems with daily living owing to mental health problems and attention difficulties, necessity of support in case of emergency, and crisis management in an emergency. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between intention to evacuate and predictor variables including age, main disorder, and ability to imagine disease condition worsening.
Results: A total of 31 (59.6%) participants were aware of the area’s disaster-related characteristics and vulnerability; 24 (46.2%) participants stated that they would want to evacuate if evacuation recommendations were issued. Those who knew about disaster-related characteristics and vulnerability expressed a wish to evacuate if they had evacuation assistance in the event of an evacuation recommendation issuance (OR = 7.71, 95% confidence intervals [1.76–33.76]).
Conclusions: It may be possible to increase evacuation compliance in individuals unwilling to evacuate by offering information about the disaster-related characteristics and vulnerability of residential areas. Persons with mental health problems should receive more evacuation support.