Health Is Vital

Health is taken for granted, until you can't any more. In this blog I hope to put down on paper some of the articles I come across and want to remember, about health. I will be personalizing these articles to apply to me. I am diabetic, over weight, have high blood pressure and tinnitus, so these are the things you will find here. I will include nutrition, exercise, and holistic health, and many other ideas. I work in the health profession, particularly mental health, and have an interest in suicide prevention; so these topics will also be covered in this blog. Please, if you are suffering reach out. Our county health and crisis line is 1-855-278-4204.

Friday, June 20, 2014

**Pamplet Review: Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters

Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Community Members Can Do
This pamphlet is available through the National Institute of Mental Health.  Trauma is an emotionally painful, shocking, stressful and sometimes life-theatening experience that may involve physical injuries but also can happen without physical injury.  (It includes witnessing events.)  This pamphlet lists the most common responses to trauma by age:
Children 5 and under: Facial expressions of fear, Clinging to parent or caregiver, crying or screaming, moving aimlessly, whimpering or trembling, returning to behaviors common to being younger, bedwetting, being afraid of the dark.
Children 6 to 11: isolating themselves, becoming quiet around friends, family and teachers, having nightmares or other sleep problems, refusing to go to bed, having outburst of anger, becoming irritable, starting fights, being unable to concentrate, refusing to go to school, complaining of physical problems, becoming depressed, feeling numb, doing poorly with school and homework, loss of interest.
Adolescents 12 to 17: Having flashbacks to the event, having nightmares or other slep problems, avoiding reminders of the event, using or abusing drugs, being disruptive, disrespectful or behaving destructively, being depressed, being angry, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activity, having suicidal thoughts.
In then provides ideas of what community members can do to help children following trauma:
Allow child to express their feelings and the event, but not forcing.  Listen to them, accept and do not argue with their feelings, help them cope with the reality of the experience.
Love and support your children, and be with them if possible.
Community members should identify and address their own feelings.
Use their buildings as gathering places.
Help identify resources and emphasize community strengths and resources that sustain hope. 
Reduce other stressors, avoid frequent moving, school pressures, transportation problems, being hungry.
Community members should help children that continue to show problematic behaviors find appropriate help.  Behaviors which should alert to finding help include: refusing to go places that remind them of the event, emotional numbness, behaving dangerously, unexplained anger/rage, sleep problems, thoughts of suicide. 
Important does: get food and water, get a safe place to stay, gel help from doctor if needed, contact loved ones, keep children with family, understand what happened and what is being done, know where to get help, meet your family’s needs.
Important don’ts: force people to tell their stories, probe for person details, say things like “It will be OK.” Say people deserved to suffer, tell others how others should feel or act, be negative
I was able to go to Los Angeles after the Northridge Earthquake and was located in a FEMA Center.  Mostly what we did was make sure people had water.  Coors had supplied water bottles for people to take.  We did anything to help people feel like they had a sense of control.  During this time I was also on the phone, and supported some of the people had experienced this trauma with phone support, the same for Katrina and other disasters.  Sometimes just a listening ear, and anything supportive statement so help the individual feel they have some control, when things don’t always make sense.
Remember, if you are worried, voice your worry.  It is OK to ask someone if they are contemplating suicide. 
Santa Clara County Suicide and Crisis line: 1-855-278-4204
National Suicide prevention line 1-800-273-talk (8255)

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