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Disaster Behavioral Health Responders: Compassion Fatigue, Stress, Cultural Awareness and Substance Abuse

Understanding Compassion Fatigue

1. Research indicates that compassion fatigue for disaster behavioral health responders consists mainly of burnout and:  

A. Bitterness and frustration

B. Secondary traumatic stress

C. Inability to enjoy others

D. Apathy and listlessness


Tips for Coping with Compassion Fatigue

2. Experts recommend that disaster care workers focus on building their strengths and carrying out self-care activities such as adequate sleep, good nutrition, regular physical activity, active relaxation, maintaining communication with friends, and practicing spiritual practices.

A. True

B. False


Compassion Satisfaction

3. Compassion satisfaction (CS) refers to the sense of fulfillment that disaster responders feel for the work they do, and it can be a source of hope, strength, and ultimately resilience.

A. True

B. False


Tips for Supervisors of Disaster Responders: Preparing Your Organization for Returning Employees

4. Organizational policies and priorities that can support employees returning from disaster work include each of the following EXCEPT:

A. Create an atmosphere where people can be open with supervisors about their experiences, feelings, and concerns

B. Create structured forums for responders to present their lessons learned or recommendations for organization-wide preparedness activities

C. Optimize liberal or flexible leave policies for returning employees

D. Do not burden employees by discussing the complex and potentially difficult job that supervisors and managers face, as they may already be experiencing post-disaster stress


Helping Your Returning Employees Transition to Routine Work

5. It is generally not recommended for those returning from disasters to discuss their experiences with others in a group setting, as it may be upsetting for some to be reminded of the graphic nature of the disaster environment.

A. True

B. False


When to Suggest That Your Staff Seek Help

6. Returning staff members may need to seek additional support if they are experiencing symptoms such as disorientation, depression, anxiety, inability to care for themselves, problematic substance use, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

A. True

B. False


Understanding Historical Trauma When Responding to an Event in Indian Country-What is Historical Trauma

7. Historical trauma is the _______________________ experience of emotional and psychological injury in communities and in descendants.  

A. Authentic, credible, heterogeneous

B. Systematic, concentrated, deep-rooted

C. Cumulative, multigenerational, and collective

D. Chronicled, indiscriminate, and extensive


Tips for Preparing to Respond to a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event in Indian Country

8. Historical trauma may be expressed by traumatized people internalizing the views of the oppressor and perpetuating a cycle of self-hatred that manifests itself in negative behaviors, which is known as attributed persecution.

A. True

B. False


Identifying Substance Misuse in the Responder Community

9. When disaster responders are fearful for no apparent reason or become increasingly angry or defiant, they are exhibiting cognitive or mental indicators that they may be abusing substances.

A. True

B. False


When to Seek Help

10. When trying to help a friend or coworker who is having an issue with substance abuse, the first step may be to express your concern directly when he or she is not under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, while emphasizing how much you care, and reminding the person that he or she is not alone.

A. True

B. False


Preventing and Managing Stress-Preventing For Your Disaster Assignment

11. The ideal time for taking actions to prevent stress and to strengthen stress management skills is before a disaster assignment, and recommendations to practice stress management include each of the following EXCEPT:

A. Include coworkers in your stress control plan so they can tip you off when they see your stress signs showing

B. Identify the minor stressors associated with disasters to which you may respond, and plan how you will address them, as these may often be overlooked and may in fact be the most harmful

C. Create a team culture and a buddy system where you can choose to spend off-duty time exercising, relaxing, or talking together

D. Take time for yourself and select and practice constructive ways to release stress


Returning to Work-Expecting the Unexpected

12. When transitioning from disaster assignments to routine duties, individuals may experience extreme fatigue because stress hormones may be moving out of the body and the body may need additional time to recover from the trauma exposure.

A. True

B. False


13. Some colleagues may react to your intense experiences based on their _________________ and as a result may want to celebrate you, may feel you need caretaking, or may decide that you need time on your own.

A. Cultural differences

B. Own histories

C. Training and education

D. None of the above


Cultural Awareness When Working in Indian Country Post Disaster

14. Which of the following is NOT one of the general cultural values that are shared by the majority of Native American communities?

A. Importance is placed on harmony with the environment

B. Elders and other community leaders are respected for their knowledge and wisdom

C. Children are the future and are to be protected and supported

D. Taking care of oneself first is emphasized, because helping others is not possible without being healthy and well


Use of Traditional Teachings

15. Many tribes have found drumming circles to be an effective way of bringing people together in a quiet, respectful, and safe place where they can learn positive coping skills from each other, without having to talk about their experiences.      

A. True

B. False


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