What Type of Help is Really Needed in an Emergency?


Is there a place for crisis counselling and other types of emotional and physiological issues after a disaster? I say yes, and in fact, it should take a larger role. I think it needs to be written into all emergency and crisis plans.

A crisis is not just a traumatic event or experience, but also an individual's response to the experience. It does not even matter if the person was directly impacted, but also indirectly affected. The events that trigger this crisis can range from a natural disaster to the death of a loved one.

A recent program in Texas has identified the need for crisis counselling and have begun a program with those recovering from Hurricane Harvey. They have realized that recovery does not just mean rebuilding a home or finding a new job. Long after one’s physical recovery is complete, the signs of stress and trauma may remain.[1] Crisis counseling is an intervention that can help individuals deal with the crisis by offering assistance and support.

While these types of programs are springing up all over the US, they have come around slowly. For years, the thrust of recovery work and the resources surrounding them have focused on repairing or rebuilding homes, job training, clothing, etc. These physical needs should still be dealt with, but real recovery is so much more. Real recovery does not neglect the psychological and emotional needs that emergencies and disasters reveal. Failing to do this could leave those impacted by emergencies or crises to never truly recover.

[1] http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Free-Crisis-Counseling-Helps-Harvey-Survivors-Cope.html

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