Many of us have been impacted by a large-scale disaster or traumatic event at some point in our lives. These events include natural disasters, terroristic acts, or community violence. These events have an impact on those who are direct witnesses/victims of these events, those who are close to someone who experiences such events, and even those who learn about these events through news or social media outlets. When these events occur, people are not only faced with physical and medical symptoms but also may struggle psychologically as well. So, what can we do to help these individuals?
Luckily there are trainings available to individuals of all levels of expertise to aid in these types of situations. Two types of aid can be utilized in the event a disaster or traumatic event in a community. First, Disaster Mental Health consists of psychological support provided by mental health professionals in preparation for, response to, and recovery from disasters. Second, Community Based Psychological First Aid is provided by members of the community to provide basic psychological support to families, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. If you are interested in helping, learning, or utilizing your existing expertise, there are trainings available to learn how deliver both of these types of support.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network/ National Center for PTSD:
• Information: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/type/psych_firstaid_manual.asp
• Online Training: https://learn.nctsn.org/enrol/index.php?id=38
• Also Download the free Psychological First Aid (PFA) App on your smartphone
Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Volunteer: https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities/disaster-health-mental-health-volunteer.html
Author: Gabrielle Massi, M.A.