A Three-Tiered Model of School-Based Trauma Services to Address Long-Term Impact of a Major Natural Disaster

Author(s): Peter J. D`Amico*, Linda Carmine, Helena Roderick, Maryann DeSilva, Juliet M. Vogel

Journal Name: Adolescent Psychiatry

Volume 7 , Issue 4 , 2017

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Background: After disasters that produce extensive damage and community disruption, many youth experience persisting psychological distress. Current recommendations are for stepped intervention, including broad resilience building, then screening and when warranted, evidence-based interventions. Schools are a logical site for reaching youth but often lack resources and expertise to provide sufficient post-disaster care. In addition, youth recovery has been shown to be impeded if supporting adults are overwhelmed by their own post-disaster stress.

Objective: The objective of this project was to demonstrate the effectiveness of a multi-tiered post-disaster intervention for youth delivered entirely in schools through collaboration of a major health system and two highly impacted school districts.

Methods: Two years after Superstorm Sandy, a team from the Northwell Health System implemented a 3-tiered intervention to youth, families and school staff in two school communities. A broad menu of education and resiliency-building activities was presented to youth preK to 12 with outreach education and support for teachers and parents. This set the stage for formal screening and triaging of the youth who were offered on-site evidence-based treatments (CBITS and TF-CBT) and/or pharmacological consultation.

Results: The resilience building activities were well received and widely utilized. The on-site interventions were effective in reducing post-disaster distress.

Conclusion: Results support the importance of school/mental health agency partnerships that provide both resilience building and evidence based trauma interventions in schools in the aftermath of major disasters.

Keywords: Disaster, resilience, youth, schools, PTSD.

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Article Details

Year: 2017
Published on: 30 April, 2018
Page: [315 - 329]
Pages: 15
DOI: 10.2174/2210676608666180312113947

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