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Episode 141 - Tara Hughes: Disaster Mental Health: An Emerging Social Work Practice

Monday, April 14, 2014, 8:00:00 AM

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Tornados, floods, bombings, transportation accidents, and mass casualty scenarios, whether natural or human-caused, are examples of extreme events that confront us. Tara Hughes is a mass casualty subject matter expert and one of two New York State disaster mental health advisors. In this episode, Ms. Hughes identifies the domains of disaster survival response and describes the process of employing psychological first aid in the disaster scenario.

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Average Rating: 4.5 stars (2 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 4stars  comments as an extension/broadening of the conversation, Monday, January 26, 2015

By Stephanie :

The skills that Tara and others have to help people cope in crisis situations cannot be overestimated in their importance. I hope to become familiar with tools such as PsyStart and learn more about all five domains of response to emergency situations (emotional, physical, cognitive, behavioral, & spiritual).

This podcast brought up, for me, thoughts about the immediate responses to a crisis or traumatic event, as well as the longer-term responses. It is impossible to do it all, but this shows why the referrals that Red Cross staff are making are so critical to individual and community well-being and recovery.

Today I heard on NPR a conversation with Jill Leovy about her new book, “Ghettoside,” in which she interviews people who are experiencing grief at the loss of a loved one by homicide. She stated that in her experience, the easiest of these kinds of interviews is immediately after the event because people are “in a state of suspended disbelief. They don't know what to think. They're kind of frozen and wide-eyed, and it takes time with something as traumatic as homicide for the reality to sink in.” This reminded me, too, of Tara’s discussion about the importance of repeating details, for survivors.

My very close friend just lost her mother in an unexpected way. She was so calm for the first few weeks. I’m afraid people might have judged her, seeing her as callous or cold. Now, when she is in greatest need of support (and will be for years to come), most people have turned their attention back to “normal life.” Again, this reminds me of the importance of connecting people to longer-term supports when a crisis occurs.

I also very much appreciate Tara’s emphasis on how we can all support these efforts, and that it is extremely important for us to sign up and get connected before a crisis occurs. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. She has me convinced—I’m registering to volunteer with the Red Cross today!




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Average Rating: 5stars  information, Wednesday, May 07, 2014

By Lenore Jakiela :

This podcast was excellent. Since I am interested in this line of work, learning about how to use the information we have in assisting families and individuals cope with mental health disaster relief. It was interesting learning about the five domains in which we react to stressful situations. Learning about psychological first aid is important and in a way to "triage" clients due to the fact that most people do not experience disasters on a daily basis. Letting the person know it is normal to feel the feelings they are feeling is important to that person. Learning about making sure people have information made sense since people can think they worst and in reality it might not be as bad as a person thought. "Information is Gold", this quote will stick with me. Listening to Ms. Hughes talk about Maslow's Hierarchy in terms of working with clients was comforting to hear knowing that basic needs are the first thing to respond to.
Hearing Ms. Hughes speak about self care is so important and it is nice to know the Red Cross assists with that. Having those connections, as well as a supportive family is very important. Thank you for this great interview.

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