Post disaster, children may become depressed
While the smoke and the fires may have cleared it’s likely that the effects of this week’s local emergency will linger with our youngest residents. Whether or not children were subjected to evacuations or damage to their homes they have been exposed to the presence and smell of smoke, media coverage of the event, and probably discussions among adults about the event. These experiences could have a lasting effect on kids.
The Santa Clarita Valley Council PTA is urging parents and caregivers to watch for signs of stress and depression in their children over the next several weeks. Children can display extreme fears and anxieties or become withdrawn and angry. SCV Council PTA has distributed a pamphlet to our local school districts that outline some of the things families can do to support their children in the aftermath of a disaster. The pamphlet is also available online on the SCVPTA website. In the pamphlet, “Helping Children Cope with Disasters,” some of the key points include expressing love for children—both verbally and physically—more than usual, maintaining normal routines, and helping children put their feelings into words.
Sabrina Utter, SCV Council PTA president, cautions parents that while the smoke may have cleared it’s possible that children’s fears still linger. “Our kids’ lives were turned upside down for a few days and they may be questioning the stability of our world. We need to give them the tools to bounce back and to become strong, resilient adults.”
For a copy of the pamphlet “Helping Children Cope with Disasters” you can log on to the PTA’s website at www.SCVPTA.org.