JOURNAL OF SOCIAL BEHAVIOR AND PERSONALITY, 1993, Vol buffalo creek disaster book pdf. The first goal of prevention is to minimize exposure to the threat of harm by violence or disaster. Disaster proofing” as well as disaster preparedness are essentials of prevention.
It is essential that a program of disaster preparedness be implemented that includes general disaster principles and specific plans tailored for a particular school. Mental health response presupposes efforts toward rescue, emergency medical relief and the restoration of safety. Rescue efforts immediately following a catastrophe usually include moving some children to areas of safety to wait while other children are transferred to hospitals or given emergency medial aid. When there is structual damage, children may be moved off site. Failure to record and direct the dissemination of children immediately following the event can exacerbate the stress responses of children and adults. Waiting children are often concerned about the whereabouts and safety of their siblings and other family members.
During this time, children may become extremely anxious and may produce their own fantasies and concerns of threat and injury to significant others. The reuniting of parents and children or siblings can become one of the important moments that requires attention during treatment. Schools will need a preplanned policy to provide an adequate and appropriate location for children and parents to be reunited. The first sight of a parent may cause relief or may increase stress.
Following traumatic events, an outside consultant can provide important assistance and information during all phases of post-trauma response: planning, first aid, early and brief interventions, long term interventions. An experiences consultant utilizes useful knowledge about anticipating and preventing or minimizing particular aspects of traumatic response. For example, recognizing the occasions that may exacerbate symptoms permits preparation for these events. Forming a treatment team involves many competing interests and professional attitudes.
When a school program is organized, there may be clinicians outside the treatment team who affect the outcome of interventions. All clinicians involved must maintain a therapeutic stance. In one case, we observed a clinician untrained in trauma care, who adopted the rage of the parents over injuries to their children. He encouraged the expression of rage rather than its resolution and the taking of appropriate action. Clinicians who were trained in methods of trauma intervention and the interaction of trauma and grief were able to make more constructive interventions. To clarify children’s questions and confusions in order to promote cognitive discrimination, additional outside assistance may be brought in to give cognitive explanations of the event.
For example, paramedics might describe issues related to resuscitation. The weatherman might explain how a tornado happens and is spotted. Care must be taken by these individuals not to make children even more hypervigilent than they already are. Treatment Team and Issues of Supervision The treatment and screening teams may include common members. Both teams will need a basic understanding of children’s post-traumatic reactions.
Treatment theory and direct training include didactic training, observation of treatment sessions conducted by the training therapist and observation of the trainee with subsequent feedback from the training therapist. Training has proved most successful when provided over time. A consultant may provide an additional week of training every two months or an additional two or three weeks of training every three months depending on the number of clinicians undergoing training. It is essential that someone effectively oversee that the consultant’s recommendations are implemented. Problems occur if during the consultant’s absence, things are left undone.
There are many pressures that accompany treatment in the aftermath of a traumatic situation. Mental Health professionals continue to work closely with school or other administrators in the ongoing implementation of services. After the initial emergency response, administrators will need an opportunity to review with mental health professionals the event and their behaviors during and afterwards. Debriefings and other psychological interventions can assist or can free, administrators to attend to the posttrauma school situation.
Specific individual and group work may be necessary. Additionally, an administrative assistant may be needed to attend to duties outside of the range and availability of the existing administrator, for example, contending with the volume and intensity of angry behaviors, intrusions and demands of parents after a school disaster. After a traumatic event school superintendents will be required not only to remain knowledgeable, but in fact to roll up their sleeves and become involved. Style of executing interventions must reinforce local school authority. In order to reduce the burden placed on the traumatized school superintendents’ increased visibility and support are essential. The school support staff becomes extremely important to the recovery effort. Duties of office staff increase geometrically following trauma.
Increased secretarial services are required and additional nursing services are indicated even when there are only psychological injuries. Increased services also are needed in the form of classroom aids. After a trauma at a school, most or all teachers may themselves be mnati-zed to some degree. Traumatized teachers and staff are themselves vulnerable to traumatic reminders of the event such as the school itself, the site of destruction or reconstruction, loud noises, empty desks or injured children.
Like children, adults with different experiences during the event may have significantly different reactions to the event. These differences in experience and response may have varied effect on performance. After one disaster, there were two nurses involved in the rescue effort: One administered first aid to injured children in the nursing office which she described as a war “zone. She was not exposed to the destruction and to dead and debris-buried bodies. As time passes, the dysynchrony among staff members in their exposure, response, needs and recovery process may become significant Some staff begin to recover while others face a lengthy treatment process. The dysynchrony can lead to conflict among staff and undermine their continued cooperation with the overall intervention program.