Due to the spike in school shootings over the last few years, people are becoming more concerned with the safety of students, teachers, and other individual’s on school campuses. Many schools have started taking cautionary measures by preparing students and teachers with the knowledge on how to remain safe in these incidents. In fact, more than 70% of schools conduct active shooter drills. However, there has not been a consensus on how to most effectively perform these drills, and some schools may be taking them a little too far.
In some cases, schools announce the drills, but sometimes they do not. Dr. David Schonfeld, Director of National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at University of Southern California, explains that even if the drill is announced it can still be a stressful experience for students or teachers with traumatic past experiences. And, in realistic drills in which students and teachers are not aware, Dr. Schonfeld states that it can cause post-traumatic reaction, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Active shooter education and drills are important for students and teachers to experience, but they must be taught at a speed that the students can handle and in a supportive environment.
How can schools be more effective in their execution of lockdown drills? Dr. Schonfeld discourages schools from using deception in their drills. He suggests that the most beneficial way to inform students and teachers is to begin with education courses on what to do in the event of a lockdown. Then, he believes that it is helpful to conduct a tabletop activity in which an adult talks about how they would deal with the situation, and help the students to make a plan, before eventually acting out the plan. Through these activities, students are able to acquire the knowledge they need to remain safe in these situations without having to endure a potentially traumatic experience.
Dr. David Schonfeld, Director of National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at University of Southern California
Car accidents are the leading causes of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in the US. We talk with Dr. Edward Hickling, author and Professor of Psychology at the University of Albany, who says that about 3 million people are involved in serious car accidents every year, and for about 20% of those people, the psychological symptoms don’t go away after a month. Hickling says that PTSD is a normal reaction to a traumatic incident because humans aren’t supposed to be in life threatening situations. One of the causes of PTSD after a car crash is hyperarousal, where any sight or sound related to a car crash can trigger a person’s memory and cause anxiety, stress and more. Individuals suffering from PTSD may also experience flashbacks in their daily life or in nightmares. Physical changes may range from hair fallout to respiratory or cardiovascular issues. PTSD is also more likely if the person believed that they were going to die as the crash was occurring.Dr. Hickling says that following an accident, many survivors find it harder to be a passenger rather than the driver because as a passenger they have less control and feel more vulnerable. He advises that it’s important for the survivor to learn something from the incident, no matter how horrific it was.
We talk with two crash survivors, Bill Hansen and Debbie Miller Koziarz, about their experiences with PTSD. Hansen, who walked away physically uninjured from his accident, describes feeling unsure whether he was alive or dead for days following the accident, and how these doubts persisted until he got help. Koziarz endured nine surgeries in the six years following her car accident, and describes feeling so anxious to be in a car again that sometimes she would even try to jump out.
PTSD is a serious condition, and survivors of traumatic events should not be afraid to seek help. Crash survivors are more likely to avoid taking risks of any kind, often choosing to stay indoors rather than resuming their normal lives, but this can prolong and worsen PTSD. Without treatment, the condition may alter their behavior and actions permanently. PTSD experts help patients to work through their trauma in order to see the world as it was for them prior to the accident.
Auto accidents are the largest cause of post-traumatic stress disorder. About 25 percent of people injured in car crashes will suffer from it. Accident survivors and one of the world’s foremost experts discuss variables that make PTSD worse and those that make recovery easier, as well as the essentials victims must carry out to recover.
Evaluating Veterans’ Healthcare
Around nine million military veterans receive healthcare services from the Department of Veterans Affairs. An expert discusses her contention that the care the VA provides is much better than its perception.
People who’ve gone to the hospital for treatment of a mental health disorder have an increased risk of stroke for months afterward. A study presented to the International Stroke Conference in Houston shows that people going to the hospital for psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD have triple the risk of a stroke in the next month and double the risk for the next year or more. Scientists speculate that mental illness may provoke the body’s “fight or flight” mechanism which can raise blood pressure and stroke risk.
Early risers may be healthier than people who sleep in. A study in the journal Obesity shows that early birds tend to eat more balanced diets than night owls. They also eat earlier in the day, which helps with weight loss and lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
And finally, many Americans are working from home at least part of the time and a new poll shows we like it that way. However, a little bit of office camaraderie is a good thing. The Gallup survey finds that 43 percent of employees work remotely at least part of the time and that the most engaged workers are those who spend three to four days a week working from home. People who work in the office all the time or at home all the time are the least engaged employees.
Synopsis: A surprisingly high percentage of people who’ve been treated in intensive care units later suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, often including hallucinations recalling horrible ICU incidents. This has led to coining a new syndrome–PICS, or post intensive care syndrome. Experts discuss why the syndrome appears to occur and what’s being done to treat and prevent it.
Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Joe Bienvenu, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University; Dr. James Jackson, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Vanderbilt University
Synopsis: Auto accidents are the largest cause of post-traumatic stress disorder. About 25 percent of people injured in car crashes will suffer from it. Accident survivors and one of the world’s foremost experts discuss variables that make PTSD worse and those that make recovery easier, as well as the essentials victims must carry out to recover.
Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Bill Hansen, car accident survivor; Dr. Edward Hickling, Professor of Psychology, University at Albany and co-author, After the Crash; Debbie Miller Koziarz, car accident survivor