How to Reduce the Effects of Psychological Trauma After Earthquake?

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Disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and terrorist attacks can have a profound impact on individuals and communities. In the aftermath of a disaster, it is common for people to experience a range of emotional and psychological reactions, including fear, anxiety, grief, and depression. These reactions can be overwhelming and debilitating, and they can interfere with a person’s ability to cope with the challenges of daily life.

One approach to helping disaster victims is called Psychological First Aid (PFA). PFA is an evidence-based intervention that aims to reduce the immediate distress and long-term negative mental health effects of traumatic events. PFA is designed to be delivered by trained professionals, but anyone can learn the basic principles of PFA and use them to provide support and assistance to disaster victims.

What is Psychological First Aid?

Psychological First Aid is a set of principles and strategies that aim to promote safety, comfort, and self-efficacy in disaster victims. PFA is based on the idea that people are resilient and can recover from traumatic events with the right support and resources. PFA is not a therapy or counseling, but rather a way of providing practical and emotional support to disaster victims.

The core principles of PFA include:

  • Look, Listen, and Connect: This involves actively listening to the person and observing their behavior and emotions. It also involves connecting the person with their social support networks and resources.
  • Promote Safety and Comfort: This involves ensuring that the person is safe and comfortable, and that their basic needs are met.
  • Calm and Comfort: This involves helping the person to feel calm and relaxed, and to manage their emotions and reactions.
  • Empowerment: This involves helping the person to feel empowered and in control of their situation, and to build their self-efficacy and resilience.

Look, Listen, and Connect

The first step in providing Psychological First Aid is to look, listen, and connect with the person. This involves actively listening to what the person is saying, observing their behavior and emotions, and connecting them with their social support networks and resources.

When approaching a disaster victim, it is important to:

  • Introduce yourself and explain your role.
  • Ask how they are feeling and what they need.
  • Listen actively and without judgment.
  • Provide reassurance and support.
  • Connect them with their social support networks and resources.

Promote Safety and Comfort

The second step in providing Psychological First Aid is to promote safety and comfort. This involves ensuring that the person is safe and comfortable, and that their basic needs are met.

When promoting safety and comfort, it is important to:

  • Ensure that the person is in a safe and secure environment.
  • Provide food, water, and shelter as needed.
  • Provide basic medical care and attention as needed.
  • Provide emotional support and reassurance.

Calm and Comfort

The third step in providing Psychological First Aid is to help the person feel calm and comfortable. This involves helping the person to manage their emotions and reactions, and to feel more relaxed and at ease.

When helping the person to feel calm and comfortable, it is important to:

  • Encourage relaxation and breathing techniques.
  • Provide a quiet and calm environment.
  • Help the person to focus on the present moment.
  • Provide emotional support and reassurance.

Empowerment

The final step in providing Psychological First Aid is to empower the person. This involves helping the person to feel empowered and in control of their situation, and to build their self-efficacy and resilience.

When empowering the person, it is important to:

  • Help the person to identify their strengths and resources.
  • Encourage problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Provide information and education about coping strategies.
  • Provide emotional support and reassurance.

Here are some additional details about Psychological First Aid (PFA) and how it can be used to help disaster victims:

  • PFA can be delivered in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, shelters, and community centers. It can also be delivered remotely via telephone or video conferencing.
  • PFA can be provided by a range of professionals, including mental health providers, emergency responders, and social workers. However, anyone can learn the basic principles of PFA and use them to provide support and assistance to disaster victims.
  • PFA can be adapted to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of disaster victims. It is important to be sensitive to the unique needs and perspectives of different individuals and communities.
  • PFA can be used in combination with other interventions, such as medication or therapy, to help disaster victims recover from traumatic events.
  • PFA is not a substitute for long-term mental health treatment. Some disaster victims may require ongoing support and treatment to fully recover from the psychological effects of a traumatic event.
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