Psychological Services

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Physical help to facilitate survival and look after vulnerable members may be offered. Psychological service personnel may help to realistically appraise priorities and strategic options and facilitate them. They may help relieve paralytic inaction.
Reuniting family members who were separated or torn apart, or providing information about missing family members and rescue efforts on their behalf,
can provide much relief and allow family members to get on with their own necessities.
Helpers may help activate and access rescue and service networks and help maintain reliable channels of information.
With correct information most people do naturally what is most adaptive under the circumstances. Therefore facilitating correct information and aiding adaptive survival strategies may be the most effective interventions. Correct information confirms choice of priorities and most effective survival strategies.

For those who are injured, alone, who are frozen with fear, are stunned or are paralysed, who suffer psychic shock and dissociation, psychological first aid may be provided or facilitated. Such states may be reversed or mitigated by physical contact such as holding the hand especially with relatives and friends and verbal contact (even if only by mobile phone). Other aspects of psychological first aid include provision of and reassurance about safety and by providing shelter, warmth and normality, often symbolised by a warm cup of tea. It also includes allowing people to express their recently frozen horrors and traumas, possibly allowing them to thaw. Shock may be relieved by giving people control, such as by finding them useful tasks, including looking after others.

Children as well as adults should be given as much information, reassurance and instructions about what is happening in the disaster as possible. Their adaptive strategies of survival, too, in their case especially attachment, need to be supported. Their pets and toys should be safeguarded. Unnecessary separations should be avoided, but if inevitable, children’s morale may be maintained by hopeful adult spirits, singing, playing and activities. Useful tasks can ameliorate their fears.
As in adults, shock and terror in children is also mitigated by personal contact and warmth, reassuring words (which need to be truthful however), allowing children to express their feelings, and relieving their guilt and responsibility.

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