Compassion in times of crisis

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Emotional Spiritual Care

The key principles guiding the emergency management arrangements through the Emergency Management Manual of Victoria (EMMV) provide for the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual care of all Victorians.

Traumatic events effect more than the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of people and communities. The meaning structures of life, the constancies associated with normative functioning are pierced by the disaster. People and communities can find it difficult to understand life meaning, purpose and direction having experienced a traumatic event. Emotional Spiritual Care is concerned with the ultimate search for meaning in times of crisis. Suffering is not what destroys people, rather “suffering without meaning”. (Victor Frankl)

Emergency and disaster scenes, relief and recovery centres are chaotic, active and busy places. Affected people entering these locations can be further overwhelmed by the response, relief and recovery agencies’ operations and expectations. Emotional Spiritual Care intentionally creates a safe and calm space for people to slow down and begin to process the event and its meaning with qualified and experienced faith based volunteers.

Emotional Spiritual Care is inclusive of personal support and psychological first aid strategies and activities. It utilises psychological, spiritual and theological resources to aid persons in psychological and / or spiritual distress , while taking careful account of cultural and faith diversity.

ESC can include:
• Psychological First Aid
• Personal Support
• Intentional creation of safe and calm spaces to aid in the emotional and spiritual processing of the event
• Listening to affected people’s story
• Grief & Loss support
• Religious rituals on request
• Memorial services
• Funeral services

Emotional Spiritual Care is not limited to people who affiliate with a faith or spiritual paradigm, but to all affected people and is known to assist in post traumatic growth. It is typically provided by someone who has been commissioned or otherwise selected by a faith oriented group.

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