SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – In the midst of a crisis like the Caldor Fire, the American Red Cross works not only to provide physical relief to evacuees through things like beds and hot meals but also strives to relieve them of the mental health stresses they face.
Bob Grosch, the disaster mental health coordinator for the Red Cross Gold Country Region, sat down with FOX40’s Sonseeahray Tonsall to discuss this important aspect of crisis response.
“Primarily, we apply what we call psychological first aid,” Grosch said. “Psychological first aid is simply to provide a safe place for people to, first of all, decompress, provide a welcoming atmosphere for them where they feel safe and feel as though that’s a place of healing.”
“Then we try to reconnect them with whatever their normal resources would be, and we can also then provide them with timely and accurate information, which reduces stress a great deal,” he continued.
Grosch said children, unlike adults, show their emotions through their behavior. His team works to give children an avenue through which they can express their trauma using activities like art, play and storytelling.
Grief counseling is also provided for evacuees.