Psychological Support Agency Framework in Support of a National Catastrophic Event

Psychological Support Agency Framework in Support of a National Catastrophic Event

Introduction

The occurrence of a catastrophic event in a nation may lead to economic, social, and political hardships in the country.  As much as the country may put in place measures to prevent the occurrence of disasters, some of them happen without any prior preparations.  In such situations, people may be negatively affected by the catastrophic event from a psychological perspective. For a nation to have a sustainable economy, it needs an active population that can carry on with the daily economic activities. The psychological health of the citizens of any nation is, thus, directly related to its economic growth and development.  In most cases, catastrophic events lead to lose of many lives and destruction of property worth a lot of money, and this can be depressing to the victims. Therefore, it is vital to ensure victims are accorded the necessary psychological support to help them cope with the situation.  Traditionally, organizations, such as the Red Cross have been offering relief food and other basic supplies for the victims, but they need more than physical supplies. While providing the victims with relief food, clothing and shelter may be important; however, it may not solve the psychological issues that the victims may be undergoing (Harrald, 2006).  Having a psychological support agency is crucial in ensuring that the welfare of the citizens is restored.

Offering psychological support to the victims of a catastrophic event is a process that requires the agencies providing the services to be committed to their work. Unlike offering physical relief, psychological support may take longer to end, and the results are visible over a period of time.  Psychological support entails helping the victims to cope with the natural responses of the loss suffered in a calm manner.  The employees working in the psychological support agencies are individuals who have the counselling skills required to execute their duties.  Among the causes of social unrest within the society are psychological challenges that may be brought about by catastrophic events.  Psychologically disturbed individuals are more likely to participate in criminal acts, such as robbery and murder. It is, therefore, important for a nation to ensure that the victims of catastrophic events receive the necessary psychological support.  This paper describes a psychological support framework and its link with criminal justice systems.

Size of the Agency

The size of an ideal psychological support agency should be average to accommodate the needs of the victims. Having an agency with many employees is not advisable, as it may lead to redundancy but an understaffed agency is also ineffective, as the employees cannot meet the demand for their services. An ideal size, therefore, requires an average staff capacity, with each staff assigned different duties to avoid overlapping of roles.  The size is determined by various factors, such as the number of available resources and victims affected by the event.  The recovery process of the individuals differ in that some are able to cope without using the professional services, but there are others who need professional interventions. Ensuring the right size of staff leads to high motivation, as they feel their services are applied in the most appropriate way. The agency is also likely to motivate the employees better when it has the right number, thus increasing their productivity.

Qualifications and Skills of the Employees

Unlike offering physical relief to the victims, psychological support needs to be offered by specialists. The agency should ensure that the employees are able to handle the situation effectively due to the skills and experience they have on psychology.  Providing psychological support to the victims is a process that requires the service providers to be patient with the victims as they monitor their progress over time. This can effectively be done by an individual who has experience and skills in psychology, especially in catastrophic events.  They must, at least, have a diploma in psychology to be in a position to execute their duties diligently. The employees must also possess good communication skills so that they are able to listen and respond to the victims appropriately.

Services Provided

The agency provides a wide range of services with an aim of enhancing the psychological welfare of the victims of catastrophic events. One of the primary services offered is counselling. Most of the victims are traumatized by the sudden loss of their loved ones and property, thus, may require counselling services to be advised on how to cope with the situation better (McGuire & Schneck, 2010).  The other role that the agency provides is policy and strategy building. Being on the ground enables the agencies providing psychological support to identify the challenges facing the victims better than the other organizations dealing with the community. The agency may be useful in developing and recommending strategies and policies that may help the nation overcome shock caused by catastrophic events in future.

Key Components of the Agency and Its Mission

For the agency to provide the best services, it must have major sectors that ensure quality services are offered. Among the sections that the agency needs to have are the human resources to ensure that it employs only the most suitable workforce for high quality service delivery. The other section is disaster management that plans on the factors that should be considered when offering the psychological support. The finance section is also important to ensure that the funds that the agency receives from sources, such as donors are accounted for. Operations of the agency may not be possible without a sound administration section that ensures all the policies and strategies laid down by other sections are implemented. The mission of the agency is to see that the victims are able to carry on with their lives even after suffering the natural psychological effects of loss.

How the Agency can Work With Other Organizations and its Link to Criminal Justice

The psychological support agency can only accomplish its mission by working closely with other organizations that provide different yet essential information that may be helpful to the victims. Among the primary organization that the agency requires working closely with is the law enforcement authorities to obtain information on the trends of criminal activities in the regions after the occurrence of catastrophic events. The law enforcement agencies have data on the crime rates and the background of some criminals that may help in identifying the victims of catastrophic events as well as establishing the most suitable approach to help them (Jaeger et al, 2007). The health facilities in the regions affected by catastrophic events are also organizations that the agency can partner with in meeting its mission. Hospital records on the patients suffering stress-related illnesses may indicate the extent of the damage that the event had on the society thus making it possible to have amicable solutions.  The occurrence of catastrophic event is related to criminal justice because most of the individuals who are psychologically disturbed may carry out criminal activities.

Conclusion

It is important for a nation to put in place appropriate measures to deal with catastrophic events that may occur. To a great extent, the productivity of a nation depends on the capacity of its citizens to provide the required services. For this to be achieved, their psychological status needs to be stable as it may be affected by the loss suffered when a catastrophic event happens. It is thus the role of the government to ensure that there are agencies that can offer psychological support to the victims should such an event occur. The agency must be fully equipped to handle the situation by ensuring it comprises the right employees in terms of size, skills, and experience needed to execute the duties.  Among the duties offered by the agency include counselling, which require professional counselors. By offering psychological support to the victims, it is possible to have an environment with very low crime rates.  The rise in crime rates is attributed to the psychological instability of the individuals, and this can be solved by the support that the agency offers. The agency cannot work alone, but it needs to collaborate with other organizations, such as law enforcement and the health care providers to identify the needs of the communities affected by a catastrophic event.

 

References

Harrald, J. R. (2006). Agility and discipline: critical success factors for disaster response. The       annals of the American Academy of political and Social Science604(1), 256-272.

Jaeger, P. T., Shneiderman, B., Fleischmann, K. R., Preece, J., Qu, Y., & Wu, P. F. (2007).           Community response grids: E-government, social networks, and effective emergency    management. Telecommunications Policy31(10), 592-604.

McGuire, M., & Schneck, D. (2010). What if Hurricane Katrina hit in 2020? The need for             strategic management of disasters. Public Administration Review70(s1), s201-s207.