• Following events such as 911 and Katrina, mental health professionals learned a lot about how people react and respond in the face of traumatic events.  We’ve learned that people who have an opportunity to gather together with others who were affected with the help of a trained professional do better in the long term than those who do not. Talking with others helps us to normalize our reactions and receive the support, compassion and understanding we need to heal so we can return to our daily lives with hope vs. despair.  We also learned that when people don’t have the opportunity to talk and process their emotional response to trauma it has the potential to increase a sense of fear and loss of control which causes stress and can lead to anxiety, depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a condition that occurs when people psychologically re-experience the trauma at least 6 months after the event. 

    As a result, the American Psychological Association recommends that people receive psychological first aid within 24 to 48 hours following a disaster or traumatic event. Psychological first aid is intended to “foster safety, calmness, self- and community efficacy, social connectedness, and optimism in the aftermath of disaster” and has been empirically proven to be successful. (1) 

    H.E.R.E in Barrington is privilaged to have a well-trained team of professionals who have agreed to volunteer to support Barrington residents within 24 to 48 hours of a critical event in our community. In the event of a critical incident in our community, residents will receive an email alert through the school district and the Village that will include information on meeting times and locations where people can gather for support and helpful information.  Clinicians will provide support in small group settings in the community for parents and other residents, while the school district will provide similar support within the school system. Following the small group gatherings, we will provide information on healthy coping skills in the days and weeks to come as well as referrals for additional support around the community.  

    By, Donna Martino, LCPC


    1) 2007 by Hobfoll et al.