It is critical to understand the relationship between crisis event variables and increased risk of developing trauma reactions as not everyone will react the same way. Processes and procedures for assessing the impact on children and youth must be in place; this ensures appropriate decisions are made regarding interventions and supports. Finding space to provide crisis intervention services.
This book discusses steps helping professionals should take in order to prepare for a crisis in their schools and community. The author. This book discusses steps helping professionals should take in order to prepare for a crisis in their schools and community. The author introduces a Crisis.
Finding space to deliver supports can be a challenge. Thus, space that allows for the provision of both group and individual multitiered supports is critical and must be planned for. Timing the return to school. If the incident resulted in an interruption to students attending school, making the decision as to when to have them return can be a bit tricky.
Staff supports must be provided before students can return to schools. Consideration also needs to be given to modifying the daily schedule, at least in the short-term. An alternate location may also need to be considered, depending on the extent of the damage to the school building.
Helping adults manage their own reactions. Often, the adults who are expected to provide support to affected children are experiencing difficulties themselves. These adults will need support in learning to manage their own reactions and stress. Responding to spontaneous memorials and other remembrances. Selecting and managing memorial activities can pose a challenge.
Having an established school policy that addresses memorials can be helpful in mediating these challenges. Recommendations to Address Challenges Conduct psychological triage to assess level of impact.
The NRP recognizes the private sector as a key partner in domestic incident management, particularly in the area of critical infrastructure protection and restoration. When another bottle of tainted Tylenol was discovered in a store, it took only a matter of minutes for the manufacturer to issue a nationwide warning that people should not use the medication in its capsule form. First, one must identify the critical functions and processes that are necessary to keep the organization running. Programs and responses designed to restore wellbeing after a critical incident should closely monitor and manage the emotional and psychological effects on the school community. Trauma-sensitive school environments will likely benefit not only traumatized children, but also those who are affected by these children, including child peers and school personnel. The politics of crisis management: Public leadership under pressure.
Psychological triage involves determining who is at risk for psychological trauma following a crisis. It is vital to estimate the number of individuals who will need mental health support and to determine what services may need to be provided.
Research indicates that proximity—both physical and emotional—is one of the greatest risk factors for more severe reactions and subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder. Consequently, immediate intervention priorities are directed to individuals who were directly exposed to the incident and those who are closest to these individuals. In addition, individuals with precrisis vulnerabilities and those who exhibit more severe crisis reactions need to be identified and supported as appropriate.
Use an off-site location such as another school, a rec center, or a church to offer crisis intervention supports if the school is unavailable immediately following a crisis. This site allows affected individuals to come together and be reunited with social supports prior to school resuming.
Social supports aid in reaffirming physical health and safety, as well as promoting a sense of psychological safety and security. In addition, a range of crisis interventions can be provided as needed, including psychoeducational groups and group crisis intervention. Trained school mental health crisis responders must be available to provide multitiered group and individual crisis interventions, and rooms will be needed to offer these services.
Attending to basic needs is also important, so having food and water available is important. Additionally, keep in mind the importance of pets to many individuals and—therapy dogs have been a critical support after many large-scale crises. Return students to school and familiar routines as soon as possible. Getting students back to school helps establish stability and continuity and is associated with reduced traumatic stress. It also allows staff to continue triage and monitor the needs of the school community.
It is generally best to ease students back into academics, perhaps starting out with a shortened day or somewhat lighter expectations in terms of assignments and performance. If the extent of the damage prevents a return to the school building, alternative placements for all students must be determined as part of planning and preparedness. Provide caregiver trainings and facilitate access to employee assistance programs and outside resources.
This can go a long way in supporting parents and school personnel who have been impacted by the incident. Substitute teachers should be on-call to help cover classes, as teachers may need a break because of unanticipated crisis reactions. Consider a variety of memorial options. When a spontaneous memorial occurs, designate it as a temporary site and immediately determine how long it will remain and how it will be removed. Involve staff and students in decision-making as appropriate to help determine whether a memorial activity is needed.
Memorials allow people to come together to express their feelings and reduce a sense of isolation; however, they will not be needed in all situations. Consider a variety of activities such as a making a memory book; distributing memory ribbons; writing a poem, story, or song about the loss; or adding related units to the curriculum, such as teaching tolerance or conflict resolution programs. Consider a living memorial that benefits others e. Ensuring access to ongoing care for those most affected and those who have had previous incidents of trauma.
This may be needed for several weeks after an incident. Challenges often include dwindling support from outside resources and the emotional and physical impact on crisis response work has on school-based mental health professionals and crisis team members. Monitoring continuing trauma reactions.
Ongoing monitoring and follow-up is required in order to ensure that individuals with delayed or longer-term reactions have the support they need. The challenge relates to both decreasing outside support and the need for school-based mental health personnel to get back to their day jobs. Protection from subsequent trauma. Often, the potential for trauma from a large-scale crisis or disaster does not end once the physical danger has passed. Continued exposure to property damage and devastation, media exposure, and legal proceedings can result in further psychological pain.
Identifying and addressing continued community-based stressors e. This can be difficult in the face of tackling more immediate needs. Maintaining connections to community based mental health, health, and other service providers. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to maintain communications and relationships with outside providers and resources.
These connections are critical to ensuring that ongoing crisis-related needs are met for those most affected by the crisis.
Addressing the needs of students who are now ready and able to process the event. With time, the adaptive initial responses of shock and denial begin to dissipate, and some students will want to discuss and process their experience a month or so after the event. Contradictions to some deeply held beliefs can cause crises.
Crisis intervention provides help for individuals or groups during a period of extreme distress. The intervention is temporary, active and supportive. Crisis intervention is most frequently provided by firefighters, police officers, emergency medical or search and rescue personnel, nurses, physicians and other hospital workers, communications personnel and community members. Roberts identifies seven critical stages that clients typically pass on the road to crisis stabilization, resolution and mastery:.
Imminent danger must establish, for instance, whether the person is now a target of domestic violence, a violent stalker or sexual abuse.
Rapport is facilitated by the crisis worker offering conditions such as genuineness, respect and acceptance of the client. Traits, behaviors or character strengths of the crisis worker come to the fore to instill trust and confidence in the client. Strengths include flexibility, positive mental attitude, resiliency, reinforcing small gains, good eye contact, creativity and nonjudgmental attitude.
Skills include active listening, communicating with warmth and reassurance, nonjudgmental statements and validation, and accurate empathetic statements. This stage can be the most difficult to accomplish. Achieving the goals in stage four means that the client likely has worked through enough feelings to have some emotional balance.
The crisis worker should plan for a follow-up contact after the initial intervention to ensure the crisis will be resolved and to evaluate the client following the crisis. Follow-up contact should include physical condition, cognitive mastery of the precipitating event, assessment of overall functioning, satisfaction and progress with ongoing treatment, any current stressors and how those are being handled, and need for possible referrals.
The CISM is a comprehensive crisis intervention system that may be applied to individuals, small functional groups, large groups, families, organizations and even entire communities. It spans the entire temporal spectrum of a crisis. Mounting empirical evidence demonstrates that the CISM approach provides the tools for prevention and corrective treatment, the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health says.
Graduates gain the skills and knowledge to enter the human services field of their choice. Crisis intervention is an essential part of support to healthy learning environments. Student services teams have assumed leadership in offering necessary support, care, and intervention to school communities in the aftermath of tragedy.
Ongoing work within our schools and with outside agencies is essential to increasing our capacity to support our larger community. Skip to main content.