This the last post in my brief series on Emergency Preparedness and Sensory Processing Disorder.
Calm in the Midst of the Storm: Emergency Preparedness and Sensory Processing Disorder (Part 1)
Calm in the Midst of the Storm: Emergency Preparedness and Sensory Processing Disorder (Part 2)
How do we help our children cope with the long term effects of a disaster or terrorism? Try psychological first aid. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), Psychological First Aid is “an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the aftermath of disaster and terrorism.” You may have taken a CPR or first aid class to learn how to help during a medical emergency. Just like those skills, psychological first aid plays an important role in the well being of your family, friends, and neighbors after a disaster.
Drs. Merritt Schreiber and Robin Gurwitch worked with the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program and wrote the series of psychological first aid booklets. Parents are in the best position to help their children in the event of a disaster. Consider discussing your child’s well-being with his/her physician, mental health provider, or teacher just as you would at a doctor’s appointment. According to Schreiber and Gurwitch, “You can help your child if listen, protect, and connect, the three steps of psychological first aid for your child after a disaster. These steps can help your child bounce back…”
The booklet for parents and children provides a checklist to think about and identify contributing factors that can increase a child’s reaction to a disaster. It also provides suggestions about answering questions, maintaining a routine, and providing opportunities to play. Click the images below to download and read one of the booklets.
For more information about psychological first aid visit here to download the Psychological First Aid Manual from the NCTSN. The manual is available in English, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. The NCTSN also offers online courses for psychological first aid.