In 2005, over 2 million people in the United States of America were hospitalised following non-fatal injuries. The frequency with which severe injury occurs renders it a leading cause of posttraumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related psychopathology. In order to develop a health system model of early psychological intervention for this population, we review the literature that pertains to mental health early intervention. The relevant domains include prevalence of psychopathology following traumatic injury, the course of symptoms, screening, and early intervention strategies. On the basis of available evidence, we propose a health system model of early psychological intervention following traumatic injury. The model involves screening for vulnerability within the hospital setting, follow-up screening for persistent symptoms at one month posttrauma, and early psychological intervention for those who are experiencing clinical impairment. Recommendations are made to facilitate tailoring early intervention psychological therapies to the special needs of the injury population.
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