[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/HEALTH/01/15/haiti.mental.psychological.effects/t1larg.health.disasters.gi.jpg caption="An injured woman sits with her baby at a makeshit field hospital Wednesday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti."]
As Haitians struggle to recover from the devastation of Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude earthquake, mental health experts caution that the most severe psychological effects won't take form until individuals' situations stabilize.
Feelings of confusion, fear, agitation, grief and anger that surround a large-scale traumatic event such as the Haiti earthquake give way to more pronounced psychological disorders once people's basic human needs are taken care of, experts say.
"Once the initial resources are in, when actually most people are going to start feel out of danger, is when the psychological aftereffects are going to hit people," said Dr. Daniella David, professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine. "People need to ask for help when that happens."
In the immediate short-term period after a large-scale traumatic event, people are concerned primarily with self-preservation and taking care of family and friends, said Dr. Sandro Galea, chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. These people experience acute stress and anxiety, which is taken up by trying to fulfill the immediate physical needs.
There is a normal and immediate stress response that comes with an event that causes damage to homes and infrastructure and loss of family members, David said.
Impact Your World
An International Red Cross spokesman warned that up to 3 million people may have been affected by last week's earthquake in Haiti. Here are some organizations specifically helping Haiti.
Providing Basic Needs:
• American Red Cross
• United Nations Foundation/CERF
• World Vision
• UNICEF USA
• International Relief Teams
• Save the Children
• Catholic Relief Services
• Samaritan's Purse
• American Jewish World Services
• Clinton Foundation
• George W. Bush Center
• Yéle Haiti
• World Concern
• Mercy Corps
Providing Medical Aid:
• Direct Relief International
• International Medical Corps
• Medical Teams International
• Doctors Without Borders
• Operation USA
• MAP International
• World Health Organization
• Project Medishare
• Partners in Health
Program Note: Tune in tonight for an update on Jean Griffth and Ross Haskell's adoption. Tonight AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Jean Griffith and Ross Haskell
Special to CNN
In situations like the dire humanitarian crisis that has followed Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti, we all are forced to witness what is the sometimes painful truth behind the cliché about it taking a village to raise a child. In the tragedy unfolding before us now, it will take a global village.
President Obama and former presidents, along with other leaders and representatives of humanitarian organizations, have reminded us of this. We would like to add our own small, humble contribution to the efforts under way around the world to help the people of Haiti.
In particular, we would like to draw your attention to the many children who were living in Haitian orphanages when the earthquake hit. As we have heard from professionals devoted to children's issues, children are among the most vulnerable segments of a population subject to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. It is not hard to imagine that orphans living in institutional care might often be even more vulnerable.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/19/art.scottbrown2.gi.jpg caption="Scott Brown says if he wins the special election to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat, he wants to play basketball with President Obama."]
Voters across Massachusetts braved winter cold and snow Tuesday to decide who will inherit the U.S. Senate seat controlled by the Kennedy family since 1953.
At stake was President Obama's domestic agenda, including the overhaul of health care.
If GOP state Sen. Scott Brown upsets Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley, Republicans would strip Democrats of their 60-seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Republicans would have enough votes to block future Senate votes on a broad range of White House priorities.
Election turnout is expected to be "pretty good," said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the office of Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin.
Galvin predicted Monday as many 2.2 million of 4.5 million registered voters would vote - at least double the turnout from December's primary.
"I don't think weather is going to impede too many people" from coming out to vote, McNiff said. "I think the interest in this election will trump any bad weather."
CNN Senior National Editor
It was my wife's doing.
We were on our way home from a Thanksgiving visit to family in the Chicago suburbs. Somewhere in Kentucky or Tennessee, we got off the interstate to fill the van's gas tank, get food and stretch our legs.
The man was standing at the top of the ramp.
He held a sign identifying himself as a homeless veteran in need of help. What caught my attention was the emblem on his black ball cap, the colors of the South Vietnam flag. From his gray hair and beard and the lines on his face, I guessed him to be in his early- to mid-60s. His fatigue jacket showed years of age.
Now, I've always been conflicted about giving money to people panhandling. Advocates for the homeless have told me that giving money does not help the homeless improve their long-term situation. Others tell me that such generosity more often than not is used for food, not alcohol as some stereotypes would have you believe.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/01/18/massachusetts.senate/smlvid.brown.gi.jpg width=300 height=169]
CNN Senior Political Analyst
The picture of the two former presidents - George W. Bush and Bill Clinton - together in the cause of saving Haiti was one of those arresting images we had to notice. Not because we never see the former presidents together; we do. Sad to say, it's usually when they're reunited after a tragedy - like a tsunami or an earthquake - and want to be of service.
Impending domestic financial disaster, a national health care crisis or threats of terror at home get no such bipartisan commiseration or leadership.
And it's what is driving independent voters to despair. After all, it was supposed to be different in President Obama's post-partisan Washington. That's why they voted for him.