Effects of Disasters on Mental Health for Children and Adolescents

Mental Health
Online Course
1 hour
University of Iowa
Upper Midwest PERLC
Mental Health in Public Health Emergencies
Community Recovery

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In addition to providing general knowledge of how disaster trauma effects this particular population, this course emphasizes practical skills: administering psychological first aid to children and adolescents in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, screening them for mental health disorders in the months that follow, and involving parents and other caregivers throughout the process.

Learning Objectives: 
  • Recognize the risk factors involved for a child or adolescent developing mental health problems as a result of exposure to disaster
  • Recognize symptoms of acute psychological distress in children or adolescents
  • Administer “psychological first aid” to children and adolescents to provide them with stabilization during and in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event
  • Describe how 4 major components in the psycho-physiological response to trauma (somatic, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive) manifest themselves in pre-school children, older children, and adolescents
  • Advise parents/caregivers what they do to help prevent their child or adolescent from developing mental health problems after a traumatic event
  • Distinguish between a normal and pathological reaction to disaster trauma in children and adolescents
  • Discuss treatment options for children and adolescents who develop mental health disorders
PHEP Capabilities: 
Mass Care
Community Recovery
Responder Safety and Health