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Do you have resources to help patients and staff members who are emotionally traumatized? The Trauma Information Pages web site (www.trauma-pages.com) has become especially relevant recently, acknowledges its developer, David Baldwin, PhD, a Eugene, OR-based psychologist specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He points to a "small but growing" section of links pertaining to the aftermath of terrorism. (Click on "Disaster Handouts and Links" and scroll down to "Specific Man-made Disasters.") "This was added shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. I expect to add additional links on bioterrorism in the coming weeks as the site is updated," he says. The site’s primary focus is emotional trauma, including PTSD. "Terrorism can trigger PTSD-like responses in some affected individuals," he explains.
In 1994, Baldwin began collecting addresses of interesting web sites relating to emotional trauma and psychology. "When I first began working on the web site, it included those, a narrative about emotional trauma, research-related web resources, and links for survivors and victims," he says. When the federal building at Oklahoma City was bombed, Baldwin added disaster information to the site. This includes several disaster mental health handouts he’d collected while working with the American Red Cross after the 1994 Northridge, CA, earthquake.
The site went on-line the following year and now includes dozens of full-text articles on trauma, patient handouts, disaster materials, and a search engine. A free e-mail service notifies users of site updates. "I maintain the site regularly and usually add new material every month or so," Baldwin says. Materials are grouped in categories for adults, families, and disaster workers. Topics include emotional health of victims, critical incident stress information sheets, and warning signs of stress.
The more you know about emotional reactions to traumatic events, the better prepared you are to help both patients and staff, says Baldwin. "This might be as simple as a gentle touch, or saying you survived’ to an accident victim in shock who may not fully realize this, or explaining that a patient’s physical trembling may be a good sign of emotional and physiological discharge."
Greater familiarity with signs of emotional or shock trauma also can help you monitor your own emotional and physical reactions to difficult cases, says Baldwin. "Secondary trauma is an important issue for ED staff vicariously exposed to patients’ emotional suffering and distress," he says.
For more information on the Trauma Information Pages web site, contact: David Baldwin, PhD, PO Box 11143, Eugene, OR 97440-3343. Telephone: (541) 686-2598. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.