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Ways to Assist Others in Times of Traumatic Events

March 31st, 2023 Blog

By Tahliah Peek

Our hearts are heavy for the recent events that occurred at the Covenant School. While
families and friends are grieving the loss of their loved ones, we stand united in prayer
for comfort and healing. Let us not forget the millions of families who are concerned about safety and security in
our schools, churches and other day-to-day places we find ourselves attending.
Becoming aware of the practical ways to assist others during these times of traumatic
events is where we begin.

Here are Five Steps to Do When Talking with Children about Traumatic Events:

1. Stay calm. Model calm.
2. Share the facts of what happened with age-appropriate answers.
3. Create a safe space for your child to express and explore how they feel by
actively listening to their feelings, concerns and questions.
4. Reassure that your child is safe and encourage your child to find a trusted adult
when they do not feel safe.
5. Memorialize those who have been lost and involve your children.

Five Steps to Do When Initially Processing a Traumatic Event AKA Psychological
First Aid:

1. Create a sense of safety. Ensure and reinforce that they are now safe, when in fact the person is safe.
2. Create Calm. Speak and act in a calm manner. If you are struggling to remain
calm utilize coping tools like deep breathing (Breathe in through nose for a count of four, hold for a count of four, out through your mouth for a count of four, and hold for a count of four). It is hard to calm someone else when you do not feel
calm yourself.
3. Create Connection. Allow the person to tap into their social support by reuniting them with a loved one or yourself by giving them your name and building a trusting partnership that ensures safety and connection until they may be reunited.
4. Create self and collective efficacy. Make others feel like an active part by reminding them of their strengths and involving them in decisions about their care.
5. Create hope. This is the belief that, although the current situation may be grim, it can get better. Discuss next steps that are realistic and predictable.

Self-Care Afterwards

1. Take care of you. Remember DEER (Drink water, Eat nutritious food, Exercise, Rest).
2. Seek professional help. If you find yourself unable to sleep, feeling tired, having nightmares of the events, unable to concentrate on daily activities, unable to control worry, feeling hopeless, poor appetite or overeating, feeling afraid as if something may happen to you or a loved one or any combination of the above, seek professional help.

The Child Mind Institute has provided other resources that we have found beneficial:

 Multilingual Trauma Resources
 How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings
 Helping Children Cope With Frightening News
 Video: Caring for Kids After a School Shooting
 Going Back to School After a Tragedy

Here at Mercy Community Healthcare, we offer our Behavioral Health Services to those in need. Our integrative approach to health does not end in the doctor’s office. Behavioral health services such as counseling and psychiatry are available upon
request by calling the number below.

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