The condition of people having no dwelling places is referred to as homelessness. Homelessness can be brought about by many factors including poverty, unemployment, government abuse, war, natural disasters, as well as domestic violence. Most of these victims, especially the youth who either are rendered homeless through natural disasters or through any other way, experience some sought of trauma. They, therefore, need psychological first aid from professional therapists or trained personnel (Ruzek et al, 2007). Every day children are exposed to danger and some of these events can threaten a person’s physical and emotional well-being leading to traumatic events (Lennquist, 2011).
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Children show common behavioral and emotional responses to these traumatic and natural disasters. Nevertheless, some may be indirectly exposed to such events. There are primary goals that are used to respond to mental health disasters, which include. Normalizing the victim’s feelings by assuring them that the upsetting and strange feelings they are going through are quite normal given the situation at hand and the other goal is assisting the victims to get appropriate ways of coping with the stress around them (Barbanel, 2006).
There are several stages of grief though they may not come in order and they include; shock, which is the first reaction by the victims, which is associated with physical and emotional pain. Another thing would be denial, which makes them act as if nothing has occurred. In addition to that, they suffer from depression – a feeling of loneliness, despair, and pain. Some also undergo guilty feelings that are self-blame for the people they have lost and anxiety comes along as reality sets in. They can become aggressive mostly towards those they think might have been in a position to prevent the loss but if this anger is expressed it might be of great use to their recovery.
Four major areas need immediate attention and enhanced implementation, which are; transition concerns from an individual engagement perspective and mental health help the enrollment of families and students and adding the new staff, which is a way of establishing interventions to ease their stay in the new schools. It also addresses any problems of adjustments in schools. Besides that, the new students who needed help even before the disaster need special assistance especially those with IEPs to avoid them from dropping out of school as well as the teachers so that they can be able to help the students. Finally, there is a need to identify and give special assistance to those students who are much more traumatized and need psychological aid (Barbanel, 2006).
The process of giving psychological first aid has some core values which should be installed to the victims among which are; contacting and engaging the victims so as not to feel left out, offering them comfort and safety to be free to share what it is they feel and this fastens their healing process. Connecting with social supports services to give them professional help as well as linking with collaborative service. During times like this, people tend to seek support and solace. Social support and supportive relationships are critical in stress management since they offer emotional support and allow them to express their difficult emotions (Lennquist, 2011).
Teachers, parents, and other adults who care can help the youth, children manage their stressful moments by encouraging them to get used to the normal routines or even new ones, and this makes them feel safe even when they are not focused on the sad events. They also help them maintain a proper social connection and engage in social activities that help them normalize and adjust. Their level of sadness exposure should be minimal to help them heal completely. They should be encouraged to eat healthy foods and keep fit to cope with stress and getting enough sleep.
Victims of such disasters should be engaged in discussions about the event through the discussions that should be made optional for the students who feel courageous enough to speak of the happenings of that event. They should be allowed to express their feelings without any interruptions though some of the students prefer engaging themselves with creative activities, drawing or writing to express their feelings. The children should also be reassured of their safety by the school officials to respond well knowing that someone is looking out for them. The routine and structure of the school should resume for the children to function better knowing what to expect regarding the daily school activities (Lennquist, 2011).
Finally, to be prepared for this kind of event, school professionals and teachers should be in a position to get all valuable information concerning the people to contact in cases of emergency, especially their parents. They should also incorporate the school community members and plan on how to house the parents who might want to be with their children during these events. The staff should limit the media coverage of such live events especially to those who were victims of the events because emotions are a common thing and so they should expect such during commemorations even when the victims had started adjusting.
Barbanel, L. (2006). Psychological interventions in times of crisis. New York: Springer.
Lennquist, Sten. (2011). Medical Response to Major Incidents and Disasters: A Practical Guide for All Medical Staff. Springer Verlag.
Ruzek, J. et al. (2007). Psychological First Aid. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 29(1), 17-49. Web.