Update from Marin CAMFT's Trauma Response Team
Here are highlights from our Trauma Response Team’s recent and upcoming activities:
Psychological First Aid
Co-Chair Kathleen Reis presented an engaging quiz on Psychological First Aid (PFA) principles at our August monthly meeting. PFA is usually required in a significant disaster or collective trauma such as wildfires or a global pandemic. While attending to others in a disaster, trauma response workers need to remain calm in an often chaotic environment. Our calm presence, tone of voice, eye contact, and confidence have a huge impact on others. Attunement, empathy, and stabilization are keys to soothing, grounding, and helping others to self-regulate and strengthen their resilience. Connectedness counterbalances adversity.
In a disaster, the licensed mental health professional triages three levels of reactions: normal stress reactions; severe stress reactions; and reactions that pose a potential danger to self and others. PFA skills also provide the framework for our own self-care, connecting to others with kindness, calm and compassion, helping people feel safe, meeting people’s basic needs, encouraging good coping, giving realistic reassurances, connecting people with their local resources and support systems, and giving accurate and timely information.
Update on current local collective traumas
Dennis Scremin, our liaison for the Red Cross, reported on the numerous fires and evacuations in the Bay area. The challenges of managing an evacuation while addressing the needs of social distancing, hand washing, cleaning, and mask wearing are enormous.
Speakers at our monthly meetings
Our team is enjoying and benefitting from our recent addition of speakers at our monthly meetings. Dennis Scremin spoke at our September meeting. On October 16 at 11 am, Melissa d’Amore will be speaking on Disaster Mental Health and Trauma Recovery. On November 20, Pam Lister will speak on being “in the field” during deployment and will share some of her positive, uplifting experiences.
Our three exciting areas of focus
We are excited about the educational component of our meetings as well as the engagement of our team with the community. It has been rewarding to get to know our new team members. While we understand that Covid-19 has changed our lives and perhaps affected some of our commitments, we are hoping that more of you will attend our next TRT Zoom meeting on October 16. If you'd like to attend this online meeting, or want more information, please email any of the three co-chairs below. We want to learn more about each of you, as well as determine who is interested in our three main areas of focus for the months ahead. These areas of focus include:
1) Disaster Response Team Activity in conjunction with the Marin Red Cross Mental Health Team.
2) School Crisis Counseling for students, school staff, and parents. The location will be announced as a pilot when approval has been secured.
3) Pro Bono Mental Health Services for those most impacted by Covid-19, including first responders and survivors (2 or 3 sessions to help people find resources and cope.)
Please let us know if you would like to get involved with our School Crisis Counseling Pilot and/or our Pro Bono Covid-19 Mental Health Services. We invite Marin CAMFT therapists to join our Trauma Response Team and help us launch these two new programs.
If you have any trauma referrals or other suggestions for our TRT, please contact us through our Marin CAMFT voicemail at: (415) 459-3484, extension 2.
We are looking forward to connecting with you, expanding our team, and serving our beautiful community in the months ahead.
Trauma Response Team Co-Chairs