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Understanding, Mitigating, and Responding to the Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions. Chaplain (Capt) Chad Kline, CAP CISM Officer, Maryland Wing Capt Christopher Hiles, RN BSN, MS, CAP Nurse Officer, Maryland Wing. Introduction: Course Goals.

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Understanding, Mitigating, and Responding to the Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

Chaplain (Capt) Chad Kline, CAP

CISM Officer, Maryland Wing

Capt Christopher Hiles, RN BSN, MS, CAP

Nurse Officer, Maryland Wing


Introduction course goals
Introduction: Course Goals Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Identify how people react to a stressful event

  • Identify how cadets may respond differently than adults

  • Identify symptoms of a negative response

  • Be able to help members at the scene and post-mission


Introduction what this course is not
Introduction: What This Course Is Not Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Critical Incident Stress Management training

  • Medical or psychological certification or continuing education course


Introduction overview
Introduction: Overview Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Psychology 101

  • Before the Mission

  • During the Mission

  • After the Mission


Psychology 101
Psychology 101 Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions


Psychology 1011
Psychology 101 Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Acute Disequilibrium/Psychological Crisis

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Response in Teenagers


Acute disequilibrium psychological crisis
Acute Disequilibrium/Psychological Crisis Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

“A state of emotional turmoil wherein one’s usual coping mechanisms have failed in the face of a perceived challenge or threat.” –Everly and Mitchell, 2000


Acute disequilibrium psychological crisis1
Acute Disequilibrium/Psychological Crisis Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • There are four ways crisis effects an individual:

  • Physically

  • Emotionally

  • Behaviorally

  • Cognitively

All of these signs are ABOVE normal levels


Physical effects of crisis
Physical Effects of Crisis Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Feeling faint or dizzy

  • Hot or cold sensations

  • Tightness in throat, stomach, or chest

  • Agitation, nervousness, or hyper arousal

  • Fatigue or exhaustion

  • Stomach distress or nausea

  • Increased or decreased appetite

  • Headache

  • Worstening of previous condition


Behavioral effects of crisis
Behavioral Effects of Crisis Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Sleep disturbances or nightmares

  • Jumpiness or being easily startled

  • Hyper-vigilance, scanning for danger

  • Crying or tearful for no apparent reason

  • Conflicts with family, friends, and coworkers

  • Avoidance of reminders of trauma

  • Inability to express feelings

  • Isolation or withdraw from others

  • Increased use of drugs (including prescription medication) or alcohol


Emotional effects of crisis
Emotional Effects of Crisis Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Shock or disbelief

  • Anxiety, fear, or worry about safety

  • Numbness

  • Sadness or grief

  • Longing or pining for the deceased

  • Feel powerless, helpless, or vulnerable

  • Disassociation or “shellshock”

  • Anger, rage, or desire for revenge

  • Irritability or shortness of temper

  • Hopelessness or despair

  • Blame self and/or others

  • Survivor guilt

  • Unpredictable mood swings

  • Re experiencing pain associated with previous trauma


Cognitive effects of crisis
Cognitive Effects of Crisis Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Confusion or disorientation

  • Poor concentration or memory problems

  • Impaired thinking or decision making

  • Complete or partial amnesia

  • Repeated flashbacks or intrusive thoughts and images

  • Obsessive self criticism or self doubts

  • Preoccupation with protecting loved ones

  • Questioning of spiritual or religious beliefs


What is ptsd
What is PTSD? Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

“Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death.”*

*National Institutes of Health


Ptsd symptoms
PTSD Symptoms Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event

    • Flashbacks and nightmares

    • Similar events triggering a large response

  • Avoidance and emotional numbing

    • Stop activity in CAP

    • Withdrawn from family, friends, and team members

  • Increased arousal

    • Bursts of anger

    • Inability to concentrate or becomes forgetful

  • Anxiety symptoms as listed before


Effects of stress on adolescents
Effects of Stress on Adolescents Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Have same concerns as adults except:

    • Varying levels of cognitive development

    • May not fully understand the “why”

    • May not have the same amount of experience or types of experiences as adults

    • May have lower thresholds of resistance and resilience


Before the mission
Before the Mission Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions


Before the mission resistance resilience
Before the Mission: Resistance/Resilience Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

Resistance: The ability to resist psychological effects of a traumatic experience

Resilience: The ability to recover from the effects of a traumatic experience


Before the missions factors effecting resistance resiliency
Before the Missions: Factors Effecting Resistance/Resiliency Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Previous Experience

  • History of Psychological and Substance Abuse

  • Natural “Fight or Flight” Response

  • Family Stability

  • Cognitive Development

  • Faith in Leadership

  • Effective Use of Social Support Systems


Before the mission building resistance resilience
Before the Mission: Building Resistance/Resilience Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Get Experience

    • Training at the Squadron Level

    • Training through Exercises

  • Build Social Support

    • Build Relationships in the Squadron

    • Use the Working Relationships Built within the Ground Team/Air Crew


Before the mission knowing if you re ready
Before the Mission: Knowing If You’re Ready Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • The best person to know if you’re ready is you

  • How have you responded to crisis in the past?

  • How have you responded to SAR exercises?

  • How have you responded to previous SAR missions?

  • Have you attempted desensitization?


Before the mission are your team members ready
Before the Mission: Are Your Team Members Ready? Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Don’t just check your team for skills proficiency

    • How do they handle stress?

    • How do they act at the squadron?

    • Have they talked to you about previous issues

  • Get to know your team

    • Discuss their concerns about possible psychologically stressing scenarios

    • Use discretion to determine discussions at a group or individual level


Before the mission are your cadets ready
Before the Mission: Are Your Cadets Ready? Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Do not make decisions in a vacuum, talk to:

    • Cadet and senior staff working with the cadet

    • The cadet’s parents or guardians

    • Ground team members and leaders working with the cadet

    • The cadet

  • Age may not be best way to determine readiness

  • As a cadet gets older, they should be reevaluated


You and Your Squadron Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • How do you know if you’re ready?

  • Does your squadron evaluate psychological preparedness?

  • How can this information be applied to your squadron?

  • Remember, MDWG CISM Team can assist you and your unit by providing training and advice


During the mission
During the Mission Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions


During the mission critical incident stress management
During the Mission: Critical Incident Stress Management Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

“Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) may be defined as a comprehensive, integrated, multi-component crisis intervention system.” – CAPR 60-5


During the mission how cism helps
During the Mission: How CISM Helps Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Demobilization and Staff Consultation: Consultation to the incident or activity commander who believes a CISM response may be necessary

  • Crisis Management Briefing: A briefing with the incident or activity commander about the best ways to support responders

  • Defusing: A session held within 12 hours of an incident, usually in small groups, that are designed to allow people who may been exposed to a traumatic event used to determine if a member will require some follow up or further assistance


During the mission how cism helps1
During the Mission: How CISM Helps Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Critical Incident Stress Debriefings:  A group session held between 1 and 10 days after an incident where members are evaluated for trauma and referred to further services

  • Individual Crisis Intervention: A one on one discussion with an effected member that can occur anytime and at any place requested

  • Family CISM: A session with family members of an effected member designed to provide the family with resources to help support the member


During the mission how to reach the cism team
During the Mission: How to Reach the CISM Team Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • During a mission/activity: Request CISM services through the chain of command. The Incident or Activity Commander will contact the MDWG CISM Officer.

  • What if I can’t get anyone on the CISM team? Contact the NHQ Duty Officer at 1-888-211-1812


During the mission cism and privacy
During the Mission: CISM and Privacy Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Any provided CISM services are considered confidential

  • National Headquarters requires the number of people provided services and the number of referrals made

  • No identifying information is recorded or reported to anyone outside the CISM team (this includes names, ranks, home units, CAP ID’s, etc.)


During the mission scenarios
During the Mission: Scenarios Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Read the scenario

  • You will control our actors by suggesting courses of action


During the mission scenario 1
During the Mission: Scenario 1 Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

During a missing aircraft search, a ground team discovers the wreckage with human remains on board. A senior member, a 32 year old male GTM 3, immediately turns away, throws up, and stands, facing away from the site, trembling. As the GTL, what should you do?


During the mission scenario 11
During the Mission: Scenario 1 Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Expected Actions

  • Approach the GTM in a caring manner

  • Removing member from scene while completing mission tasks (e.g. cordoning of the site, relaying information to mission base)

  • Get member to mission base

  • Request CISM support

  • Maintain member confidentiality


During the mission scenario 2
During the Mission: Scenario 2 Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

After finding the scene, a ground team relays crash site details to mission base including the finding of the remains of the two people on board. None of the information is graphic. A 15 year old female cadet in the radio room records the information. An hour later, the cadet begins to withdraw. A friend of the cadet, also in the radio room, approaches you and becomes concerned stating that it isn’t her normal way of acting.


During the mission scenario 21
During the Mission: Scenario 2 Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Expected Actions

  • Report concern up the chain of command

  • Request CISM assistance

  • Watch cadet and gently approach if necessary


After the mission
After the Mission Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions


After the mission how long will symptoms remain
After the Mission: How Long Will Symptoms Remain Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Initial reaction symptoms may last weeks, months, or even years after the event

  • Symptoms of anxiety may disappear and reappear months later

  • Be wary of any sudden changes of behavior, even months after the incident


After the mission where to get help
After the Mission: Where to Get Help Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Local resources

    • Squadron Chaplain

    • Squadron Health Services Officer

  • Wing resources (All contact information is online at www.mdcap.org)

    • Wing Critical Incident Stress Management Officer

    • Wing Chaplain

    • Wing Health Services Officer

  • NHQ Duty Officer at 1-888-211-1812


After the mission getting back on the horse
After the Mission: Getting Back on the Horse Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Don’t force it

    • Members may want to pursue other issues within the ES mission or in Aerospace Education or Cadet Programs

    • Forcing a member back into the field may cause them to quit altogether

  • Take it slow

    • It may be better to only participate in exercises and work back to a mission

    • Be honest with yourself


After the mission how cism helps
After the Mission: How CISM Helps Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Organizational consultation: Consultation with a unit to help foster communications and support for potentially effected members

  • Follow-up/Referral: One-on-one consultation with effected members who have already been evaluated in one of the previous intervention


After the mission scenario
After the Mission Scenario Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

After locating a crash scene, the ground team cordons off the site and begins crash site surveillance. A half hour later, the local coroners office clears the remains and a new ground team relieves the original team. This team stays in place for 6 hours until the mission is closed and, without incident, return home. At the next squadron meeting, a 16 year old male cadet on the crash site surveillance team begins to act out, not an unusual occurrence. However, when redirected, he normally responds well. This time he continues to act out and threatens cadet staff with violence when they try to correct them, which has never happened before. You are the Deputy Commander for Cadets and were not on the mission. What do you do?


During the mission scenario
During the Mission Scenario Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

  • Expected Action

  • DCC alerts CC

  • Approach cadet gently

  • Isolate cadet from general cadet corps

  • Contact cadet’s parents

  • Request CISM support and/or unit chaplain


Questions
Questions Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions


Contact information
Contact Information Psychological Impact of Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief Missions

Chaplain (Capt) Chad Kline, CAP

CISM Officer

Maryland Wing

443-794-7186

[email protected]

Capt Chris Hiles, RN BSN, MS, CAP

Nurse Officer

Maryland Wing

410-926-6840

410-255-5041


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