On the Arrive Alive website we have a rather comprehensive section on “Trauma Counseling and Road Safety”. This was inspired by an accident report a few years ago having witnessed a photo of school children after a bus accident.
I believe that we do not always recognize the importance of trauma counseling – and would like to share some questions raised by a journalist on this topic – and the response received from our road safety partner ER24.
Request for Information and Questions about Trauma Counseling
I wanted to ask you a few questions about Trauma Counseling with regards to the accident which took place last Wednesday, the 25th of August, involving the taxi and the 10 school children that died:
1. How do you think something like that impacts a community?
2. How would you deal with the family members after experiencing a tradgedy like that?
3. What can the family members do to help ease their pain?
4. What do you think a community can do create awareness on these kinds of situations?
5. How can we get taxi driver’s to drive safer?
6. Do you offer Trauma Counseling for families and individuals? How does it work?
Response from Trauma Experts:
[ A word of appreciation to Ernie McCarthy, one of the lead trauma assistants at ER24]
Firstly let me say any traumatic episode has a Normal action to an Abnormal situation – we cannot predict the exact effects but the more common ones I will try and highlight.
1. Well in any community this is seen as a tragedy, but with a community that is as close knit at this, you will feel the same loss as if this is a family member, children has but only started with the journey of life and it was stolen from them at an early age.
Five stages of grief – Elisabeth Kübler Ross
- The community is feeling the sense on Numbness and the Dream Effect that it is not real.
- They might feel have reach the Anger phase where the blame is the drive for getting up in the morning.
- They will reach the point of Bargaining _ take me and give me my son back – he was so young!
- Depression is the point that is reach when all is realized and the person feels no drive or direction.
- Finally Acceptance is the act of realization and confirming the death of the loved one – this has no time limit but if the Anger, Depression or any the emotions control the situation this is serious concern for Searching of help
2. Firstly we need to make sure we are able to realize the stage that the family members are in and then take the process form that point on. They are in a fragile stage of life and several emotions are currently bubbling up inside of them – if we have the anger stage we have to manage this with care as this will most likely involve another party and with the use of Alcohol this will multiply the effect, people feeling depression, is possibly thinking thoughts of the life alone and can they cope – Suicide is a serious fear at this stage. – looking at the stages and at the fears each person is unique and so difficult to box, my feelings are compassion and care with a good support group to help when they are low – and to have joy when they are happy – You will never forget the happy times together and that will only make your drive for acceptance stronger.
3. A few Do and No Not’s
Do NOT let yourself become withdrawn or isolated during this time.
Do NOT resort to overmedication or drug/alcohol use for coping or escape.
Do NOT bottle up all of your feelings or fears; you may prolong the recovery process, not shorten it.
Do NOT assume that your mental, physical, or emotional stress reactions are a sign of weakness, craziness, or loss of control, when they are probably a normal part of the recovery process.
It is important during times of extra stress to take positive steps to renew and care for yourself. Here are some DO choices:
Try to keep most of your personal routines in place, such as regular meals or other everyday rituals; these can re-establish some order when your life has been temporarily turned upside down.
Just do what you can do: Even if you have little appetite, eat something healthy to keep yourself going. Even if your concentration is poor, it may still be wise to go to class (or work) or look at a book versus doing nothing at all. If you aren’t in a party mood but you do want to go out to be with friends, they should be fine with that if you let them know your wishes.
When you can, allow yourself to feel emotions such as sadness, anger, or grief over what happened. Talking to others about your feelings is important. Make that long-distance call or write your experience down – whatever helps your mind digest this experience and put it behind you.
Get some appropriate physical exercise, along with regular sleep, rest, and relaxation.
Use family and friends you trust for some informal debriefing, but feel free to use a professional counselor for some debriefing, too. It can be part of dealing with an experience promptly and preventing future complications.
Discuss your experience with anyone who went through the event with you. If a group debriefing meeting is offered (by a trained professional), take advantage of the opportunity.
4. Families are to use the gift of self-preservation and control the process of having an governing service, making the Drivers and Vehicles of the transport service adhere to a Law that is governed by the country, this tragedy is one of those examples that the processed had failed us with the actions of many.
5. Do pigs fly, nope they surely do not – they drive for money and the next passenger is all that matters, control starts at the top of the Taxi association to keep better control of the drivers and more regular evaluations of the skills and vehicle road worthy, disobedience of the law caused this accident!
6. Unfortunately not but my best advice for the families and community members to contact the churches in the area for referrals to professionals in the area’s.
ER24 National & International Regions