The following information may be useful in the days and weeks following a crisis. Longer-term follow-up procedures also are listed.
The Day After: Workday Two of Crisis Management
- Gather faculty members and update them on any additional information procedures.
- In case of death provide funera1Jvisitation information if an affected family has given permission.
- Identify students in need of follow-up support and assign staff members to monitor each of these vulnerable students:
- Coordinate any ongoing counseling support for students on campus;
- Announce ongoing support for students with a place, time, and staff facilitator; and
- Notify parents of affected students regarding community resources available to students and their families.
- Convene Crisis Response Team for debriefing as soon as possible:
- discuss successes and problems; and
- Discuss things to do differently next time.
- Allow staff an opportunity to discuss feelings and reactions.
Long-Term Follow-up and Evaluation
- Provide a list of suggested readings to teachers, parents, and students.
- Amend crisis response procedures as necessary.
- Write thank-you notes to out-of-building district and community resource people who provided (or are still providing) support during the crisis.
- Be alert on crisis anniversaries and holidays. Often students will experience an “anniversary” grief reaction the following month or year on the date of the crisis or when similar crises occur that remind them of the original crisis.
Holidays, too, often are difficult for students who have experienced loss.
Helping Your Child After a Disaster.
Children may be especially upset and express feelings about the disaster. These reactions are normal and usually will not last long. Listed below are some problems you may see in your children:
- Excessive fear of darkness, separation, or being alone;
- Clinging to parents, fear of strangers;
- Increase in immature behaviours;
- Not wanting to go to school;
- Changes in eating/sleeping behaviours;
- Increase in either aggressive behaviour or shyness;
- Bedwetting or thumb sucking;
- Persistent nightmares; and/or
- Headaches or other physical complaints.
The following will help your child:
- Talk with your child about his/her feelings about the disaster. Share your feelings, too.
- Talk about what happened. Give your child information he/she can understand.
- Reassure your child that you are safe and together. You may need to repeat this reassurance often.
- Hold and touch your child often.
- Spend extra time with your child at bedtime.
- Allow your child to mourn or grieve over a lost toy, a lost blanket, a lost home.
- If you feel your child is having problems at school, talk to his/her teacher so you can work together to help your child.
Please reread this sheet from time to time in the coming months. Usually, a child’s emotional response to a disaster will not last long, but some problems may be present or recur for many months afterwards. Your community mental health center is staffed by counselors skilled in talking with people experiencing disaster-related problems.
Reprinted with permission from the California Department of Mental Health.