12 Oct Dealing with a Public Tragedy
One of the most devastating intrusions in our lives today is an unexpected national or global disaster. Whether caused by nature or people, these uninvited and unexpected crises leave innocent people emotionally overwhelmed or physically handicapped.
Traumatic events outside of our “normal” fears and expectations can create a sense of incredible vulnerability and helplessness. Normal coping strategies can fail us and impact our ability to help others around us.
Everyone is Affected
The response to these events varies from person to person. Some move into “auto-pilot”; they are seemingly unaffected and become helpful and resourceful. The personal effect can vary from healthy coping to emotional pain unrealized for weeks, months or sometimes years.
For others, the result of the experience can be immobilizing, and lead to a loss of faith and trust. This range of response is normal and depends upon on the person, their previous experiences and proximity to the crisis.
Recovery from such tragedies depends on the response of the person affected, the resources available and the ability to connect the individual with the available resources in their communities. Some of the immediate needs for those affected are:
- The assurance of safety from the immediate threat
- A “safe place” to re-group emotionally and physically
- Authorities and responders identifying the most vulnerable, emotionally and physically, and connecting them with the appropriate interveners such as: emergency personnel, community counselors, and religious leaders, school officials such as administrators, teachers and coaches.
Global and national disasters affect everyone, emotionally and physically. Although these events are often horrific, they have the potential to bring people together.