Below are the best and most recent articles on the effects of trauma on children, especially those as a result of climate change.
Thanks to an explosion in scientific research now possible with imaging technologies, such as fMRI and SPECT, experts can actually see how the brain develops. This helps explain why exposure to adverse childhood experiences can so deeply influence and change a child’s brain and thus their physical and emotional health and quality of life across their lifetime.
Children are already experiencing “eco-anxiety” — and psychiatrists don’t really know how to help them cope
- A single disaster event is really part of a cascade of other events in a child’s life and results in cumulative impact and stress, even if the prior events are completely unrelated.
- Stigma related to mental health is a still barrier, even in times of national crisis.
- Between 30 and 40 percent of a direct survivor, the population is at risk for developing a new disorder that they did not have until the index event.
- Traumatic grief is different from the experience of grief in other situations and requires different treatment.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, floods, and volcanic eruptions frequently occur in the Republic of Philippines and mental health care for children affected by these natural disasters is a major public health concern. Aiming to train health professionals on children’s mental health, to conduct a situational analysis to identify the local needs and resources for children’s mental health.
Natural disasters cause widespread destruction, economic loss, and death, leaving children to cope with the devastating aftermath. The research literature has demonstrated that children are at risk postdisaster for negative mental health outcomes, such as posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. The purpose of this review is to highlight the challenges associated with childhood exposure to severe natural disasters and to summarize the current research on clinical interventions for children postdisaster.
The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, together with the subsequent tsunami and nuclear power station accident, damaged a wide area of land. Children who experienced these terrible disasters and the post-disaster situation are still suffering in mental, physical and social ways. Children’s play is an activity that they undertake naturally and which can help them recover from such disasters. This paper addresses the role of play, adventure playgrounds and other play interventions, including play buses, for the health triangle, which addresses mental, physical and social issues of children after the disasters. These interventions were shown to be effective because children could express their stress.
It was powerful evidence of the connection that I had seen clinically but had never seen substantiated in the literature. After reading the ACE Study, I was able to answer the question of whether there was a medical connection between the stress of childhood abuse and neglect and the bodily changes and damage that could last a lifetime.
The play of 12 psychically traumatized children and 1 traumatized adult was studied clinically by the author. Eleven characteristics of post-traumatic play were noted: compulsive repetitiveness, unconscious link to the traumatic event, literalness, failure to relieve anxiety, wide age range of players, varying lag time prior to its development, carrying power to involve non-traumatized children, contagion to new generations, danger, art, and talk as alternative modes of playing, and usefulness of tracing post-traumatic play to an earlier trauma. The possible reasons behind these characteristics are discussed as they may relate to the general psychodynamic theory of play.
“Children will bear the brunt of these disasters,” said Gautam Narasimhan, UNICEF senior adviser on climate change. “In the short term, the most vulnerable children are at risk of drowning and landslides, deadly diseases including cholera and malaria, malnutrition from reduced agricultural production, and psychological trauma – all of which are compounded when health centers and schools are impacted,” he said.
“For a long time we were able to hold ourselves in a distance, listening to data and not being affected emotionally,” she said. “But it’s not just a science abstraction anymore. I’m increasingly seeing people who are in despair, and even panic. “
Children ought to be seen and heard. If an adult responds harshly, a child or youth is likely to internalize that to mean they are bad or the child may be reactive and respond in the exact same way. In addressing a traumatized child or youth, it is important to realize that although the trauma event or disaster might be over, change and trauma reminders could keep the events in mind.