Staff Care and the Haiti Earthquake: Normal Reactions to Abnormal Events
Michael Hegenauer, Director of Staff Care at World Vision International, describes how individuals typically respond in the aftermath of traumatic events.
For more information, see: http://www.worldvision.org/
PTSD has recently become a household term, thanks largely to its increasing recognition amongst military personnel. Despite the overlap between military and aid work, however, it remains overlooked and often under-addressed in the aid-working world. Most who experience psychological trauma don't show signs or symptoms for at least 6 months. Then, they have difficulty focusing on a task. Relationships with loved ones become impaired. Relationships with colleagues become impaired. They become dysfunctional. (Michael Hegenauer, World Vision)
Many aid workers remain unsupported by their humanitarian employers and, thus, go without necessary treatment. Instead of feeling supported, aid workers often express feeling ostracized within their working environments and unable to admit that they have been affected by trauma - out of fear of being stigmatized or, worse, having their contracts discontinued.
Whether this fear is well-founded or not, it deserves reflection by both aid workers and their employers.
In this section, you will find:
- general information on trauma (incidents that trigger traumatic reactions and how they may cause us to feel)
- insight into the symptoms of trauma and traumatic stress disorders
- the long-term effects and consequences (depression, anxiety, suicide) of trauma on the body and mind
- ways to recognize your thoughts, judgments and assumptions around trauma and to use this understanding of yourself to prepare for potential traumatic incidents
- suggested ways to respond when an incident occurs
- what to expect post-trauma
- suggestions when recovering from trauma
- how working with trauma survivors can affect you
- survivors' firsthand accounts on living with trauma, recovering from trauma, and working with survivors
- a space for trauma survivors and others affected by trauma to let trauma know how you really feel