Emotional CPR training for emergency workers
More than 40 emergency workers have been trained to provide “emotional CPR” by an American expert.
Revital Goodman, a trauma specialist, said that it was vital first responders were equipped to provide early care to people who had experienced stressful events.
Dr Goodman added: “When a person is experiencing a traumatic incident, the person's emotional and mental system are overwhelmed and shut down.
“These interventions equip service providers to quickly help a person regain control, manage emotions and stabilise in order to make better decision on how to proceed.”
She said first responders should be able to help people remain calm and deal with anxiety after they arrived at the scene of an accident.
Dr Goodman added the workshop was also designed to help emergency services staff cope with personal trauma.
She explained: “The first responder himself or herself may also feel overwhelmed by a situation, but who is taking care of them?”
She added: “Clinicians and non-clinicians, all service providers, were trained what to do in crisis or traumatic moments to help a person regroup and regain control.
“This is an extremely important direction that I think is needed because we don't only have personal traumatic events, we also have community traumatic events such as a hurricanes or community violence.”
She added that members of the public needed emotional support to deal with the aftermath of disasters and disturbances.
Dr Goodman said: “If we don't quickly help a person deal with trauma, the trauma gets stuck in the brain in a way that's dysfunctional.
“The person will continue going through life, but whenever that memory is triggered, the person will react in an inappropriate way.”
She added people who had experienced trauma who were treated were more likely to be traumatised again be the cause of further traumatic events.
Dr Goodman said untreated stress could lead to attempts at self-medication or drug or alcohol abuse.
She added: “The consequences of not treating trauma can be devastating.
“A person that is traumatised and untreated is a person that is easily triggered, can be violent, can be aggressive, can behave out of control and do things that are dangerous.”
The group were trained at a workshop organised by the Bermuda Counselling Association held in Hamilton last weekend for community supervision, child welfare staff and other services.
Dr Goodman said they were trained in “crisis specific” situations and to “provide the first line of support” for people who had suffered trauma.
Junita Woolridge, chairwoman of the Bermuda Counselling Association, said: “There are a lot of people ranging from youth to adulthood that are impacted and affected by chronic stress and traumatic incidents and who are not always immediately assisted.
“This training has prepared service providers to be able to recognise, respond to and ensure that they have those needs met.”