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San Jacinto Valley

Counseling » Crisis/Trauma/Violence


A crisis is a temporary emotional condition wherein one’s usual coping mechanisms have failed in face of a perceived challenge or threat. Events that might precipitate a crisis in schools include suicide, sudden or accidental death and critical injury of a student or staff, as well as violent incidents and natural disasters. When a school is faced with a crisis, its students, school personnel and parents who are closely related to the precipitating incident may become disturbed. School routines may be disrupted. All these threaten the stability and safety of a school, upsetting its equilibrium.


Children can feel very frightened during a disaster and afterwards some children will show temporary changes of behavior.  For most children these changes will be mild, not last long, and diminish with time. However, reminders of what happened could cause upsetting feelings to return and behavior changes to emerge again. Watching scenes of the disaster on television can be distressing for children, especially for younger children.


Factors that contribute to greater vulnerability include:

Direct exposure to the disaster This includes being evacuated, seeing injured or dying people, being injured themselves, and feeling that their own lives are threatened.
Personal loss This includes the death or serious injury of a family member, close friend, or family pet.
On-going stress from the secondary effects of disaster This includes temporarily living elsewhere, losing contact with their friends and neighbors, losing things that are important to them, parental job loss, and the financial costs of reestablishing their previous living conditions. Prior exposure to disaster or another traumatic event.

How parents and caregivers react to and cope with a disaster or emergency situation can affect the way their children react. When parents and caregivers or other family members are able to deal with the situation calmly and confidently, they are often the best source of support for their children. One way to help children feel more confident and in control is to involve them in preparing a family disaster plan.  To read more go to:


Crisis in the School
Children need safe environments if they are to thrive. When that safety is disrupted, for whatever reason, adults need to reassure children that they will be protected. Crises can range from school-related incidents to incidents in the community, such as natural disasters, or the world at large, such as terrorism or war. To read more go to.


After a Shooting

Specific Resources  


Managing Your Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting American Psychological Association


Helping Your Child Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting American Psychological Association


Resources in Response to the Recent Shooting   

National Child Traumatic Stress Network


Helping Children Cope with Traumatic Events
Tips for helping a child or teen recover from trauma. The intense, confusing, and frightening emotions that follow a traumatic event or natural disaster can be even more pronounced in children—whether they directly experienced the traumatic event or were repeatedly exposed to horrific media images after the fact. While children and adolescents are more vulnerable to being traumatized than adults, with the right support and reassurance they are also able to recover faster. Using these coping tips, you can help your child regain emotional balance, restore his or her trust in the world, and move on from the traumatic event. To read more go to.



Helping Children Cope with Natural Disasters
Natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes can cause fear, anxiety, and even depression among children. Sometime impacts aren't felt for weeks, months, or even longer. School counselors, trained in providing immediate and long-term support to students in coping with disasters, stress to parents the importance of creating a feeling of safety for their children. To read more go to.


Additional Resources


Supporting Yourself After a Natural Disaster


URL Links

People can experience a wide range of emotions before and after a disaster or traumatic event, but it's important to find healthy ways to cope.
American Red Cross Disaster Relief & Recovery Service
Managing traumatic stress: Tips for recovering from disaster and other traumatic events

American Psychological Association              

Building Your Resilience

American Psychological Association

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health After a Disaster             American Red Cross

Recovering Emotionally

American Red Cross

Helping Children Cope with Disaster

            American Red Cross/US Federal Emergency Management Agency