We know that it is not always easy to respond to the questions related to catastrophes, we therefore want to thank you for your time and generous participation in the research. The general purpose of this research is to know the beliefs about catastrophes and how people react, feel and cope after having experienced them. As you have been so kind to fill out this online survey, we would like to offer some pieces of information about what frequent reactions after a catastrophe can look like. However, please remember that this is a generalization and that the following reactions may alter individually.
• After living through a catastrophe, it is very common for people to experience a range of feelings and emotions, which are hard to understand and frequently cause discomfort. The particular feelings and emotions may include sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of energy to do daily activities. Additionally, people can also have an intense fear and anxiety even in normal or routine situations. Thus, all those reactions, although painful, are not only common after experiencing a catastrophe but they are entirely normal. There are extraordinary ways of reacting and overcoming vert extraordinary events.
• The good news is the majority of people recover from these symptoms naturally and progressively. Only if these painful emotions prevail longer than a few weeks or a month, a formal intervention is recommended. Psychological help therefore is not strictly necessary after a catastrophe but can be very helpful for those who are struggling with the psychological consequences of having suffered a catastrophe for a longer time. The psychological treatments after a catastrophe are offered in form of individual therapy and group therapy. The important message is that there are high quality interventions, based on scientific evidence that have proofed to be effective for victims of this sort of situations.
• Even though all the above-mentioned symptoms are normal not all the victims experience them or only in part. There is not a specific time or amount of suffering. Each individual is different. According to the differences, each person may need a different strategy to cope with the effects of a catastrophe while there is not a concrete recipe valid for everybody. For example, some people like to talk about the event but others do not. They should not be forced to do so immediately after the catastrophe but encouraged to talk when they feel ready and have the necessary resources to cope with the situation.
• Besides formal interventions, the general population must be involved in the recovering process of victims of a catastrophe and in some occasions even more. For example, it is recommended that bad news, if possible, can be delivered by someone (previously trained) that is close to the one that is going to receive the news (e. g. a relative).
• Children of course, also deserve information. There is nothing wrong in explaining to them what is going on, but of course, in a language adapted to their age. They are not going to be less happy but feel more secure in doing so.
We would also like to tell you that in some cases, people feel some kind of distress when talking about this, especially if they have gone through catastrophes themselves. If that is your case, the first thing that you have to know is that this is normal. This is not a symptom, it is just that you are thinking more about it or being more consciously aware of it. In the case you feel a need to talk or have more questions you can contact CONTACT INFO OF EACH COUNTRY. Anyway, remember you can contact the Principal Investigator of the project, Dr. Clara Gesteira Santos to ask for specific information on the project (firstname.lastname@example.org).