Making young minds resilient to disasters

As a pediatrician and a parent, I often think about what I’d do to keep my children safe if we were hit by a storm like Hurricane Dorian, which reduced whole towns in the Bahamas to rubble. Or by a wildfire, like the Camp Fire that burned the town of Paradise, California to the ground. Or how we’d deal with this year’s record-breaking rains that flooded scores of towns throughout the Mississippi River Basin. Disasters like these — which may be getting more dangerous with climate change — can directly harm a child’s body. But what’s less well appreciated is how they can harm our children’s minds, and how these harms can result in poorer health across our children’s lives. Fortunately, we can take actions to build resilience in our children and in our communities before a disaster strikes, which may help buffer them from the trauma of living through one. How might children experience a natural disaster? We can take concrete steps to protect our homes and families from the imminent risks that come with natural disasters. But even if our homes are spared, and we have enough food, water, and backup power to keep our families safe, a child who lives through a major disaster can have lingering health effects that may be difficult to see at first. So, for a moment, imagine the sense of loss — and instability — a child might feel when they return home after a disaster. Their community isn’t the one they knew just ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Anxiety and Depression Children's Health Environmental health Source Type: blogs

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