He made a lot of comments after that presentation. My summary of what I got from those comments:
- People are more likely to develop PSTD from a man-made event than a natural disaster. Some of this may be due to the amount of rage or guilt the victim feels. Having a human cause makes the damage more personal.
- Grief and trauma recovery works best if allowed to naturally resolve itself during the following 6 to 8 weeks. If it is still a major disturbance to daily activities after that, then help should be sought.
- The time for mental health relief is NOT immediately after the disaster, but two months after and it has to be long term help and not short term sessions.
- There is a place for mental health workers right after a disaster. That place is handing out food, helping people fill out FEMA forms and other volunteer work.
- PSTD is often caused from a feeling of helplessness. People who have something to do after a major disaster are much less likely to develop trauma from it. (Which explains why I felt better while I was working at the nearby Air Force base during the aftermath of 9/11. I had a purpose and even though it was only a supportive function of support staff, it was helping the situation.)
He talked about a few other things that he experienced helping out during those disasters. Most of it was very emotional and striking. Some of it was how he dealt with 9/11 to keep himself stable enough to help others.