The horrific events in Paris last Friday night take a toll on most people. Our chil
dren are not immune. Schools and parents have to intervene.
Grief and Mourning during an Emergency (Center for Disease Control)
Disasters may cost people property, possessions, and the lives of their loved ones. Most cultures have specific, relatively unique beliefs, rituals, and practices for death, dying, and grieving. These may be impacted during a crisis, and it’s important for communicators to convey that any illness, injury, or death is a tragedy.
Grief is a universal emotion, but no two people experience grief in exactly the same way. People may experience mental, emotional, and physical reactions to loss. Sudden, traumatic loss is an affront to an individual’s sense of order; and, in a crisis, the loss may affect an entire community. Public health and other response professionals must prepare themselves to confront the realities of these deaths and to assist the community in its bereavement process.
Compassionate communicators should show sensitivity in their messages and reporting. Response organizations must respect that every death represents the loss of a vital member of the community. Responders should strive to understand grieving rituals from different ethnic and cultural perspectives. Communicators may also engage community members in actions—such as symbolic ribbon-wearing or community-wide memorial services—to promote unity. Communication should acknowledge all loss, display empathy, and encourage people to help their community.
For the more details on communicating through grief, please see Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication, 2014 Edition at http://emergency.cdc.gov/cerc/resources/pdf/cerc_2014edition.pdf.
The emotional trauma experts at our sister agency in the UJA-Federation network, the Jewish Board, recommend the following resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network | National Center for PTSD:
- Talking to Children About the Bombings
- Parent Tips for Helping School Aged Children Post Disaster
- Parent Tips for Helping Pre-school Aged Children Post Disaster
- Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth After the Bombings
- Helping Young Children Heal after a Crisis
- Media Coverage Tips for Parents
- Coping with Uncertainty-Finding your own Style
- Coping Fact Sheets for Youth