January 21st, 2017


Coping with Traumatic News

 [personal profile] rix_scaedu tipped me to this page about coping with traumatic news.  It's an illustrated guide, but they get bonus points for inclusivity because the written instructions appear in text below the pictures.  \o/  This ties into the excellent advice from Mr. Rogers, "Look for the helpers."

Newspaper and news broadcast sites in Terramagne-America customarily have some kind of EFA section like this, and video instructions are often tacked onto the end of reports about a major tragedy.  They have more materials though -- theirs is usually broken down into subsections like "I am upset by a tragedy," "I don't like the politics," "I am offended by a scandal," "I am scared of a soup incident," etc. with a general "I am unhappy about the news" for everything else.  Under the symptoms and basic coping skills is a set of tips on how you can help.  For instance, the tragedy section would have information on aid organizations, fundraisers, volunteering, etc. while the scandal one would have stuff about virtues and gossip.  This modular format makes it easy to add individual pages for current events, like folks did with the Berettaflies in Easy City, which is how they managed to raise money and acquire butterfly-indifferent plants so quickly.  Then all they have to do is link the individual pages at the bottom of the topical pages under "Current Events." Citizens always know where they can go for help on these issues; it stays in the same place and format so it's easy to find.

This concept is replicable here for anyone who works with a vulnerable population easily upset by distressing news, any large organization that has a public relations office, any kind of emergency response organization, etc.  If you deal in things that upset people or people who get upset, then it helps to have a resource for healthy coping.  This can greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend repeating the same information and the amount of stress caused by people freaking out.  It also engages one of the most important resilience factors: restoring a sense of control.  Helplessness causes traumatic stress.  Giving people a gentle nudge toward self-help and citizen response materials will get most of them moving forward again.  The ones who don't budge are the ones you really need to worry about, and you'll have more resources to handle the one or two people who flip into acute stress disorder if you've successfully routed the others into solving their own problems.