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Psychological Support for Schools Following Trauma: School Staff Perspectives

11 January 2021

Author: Amanda Gaukroker (university College London)

A critical incident is an event that is outside the normal day to day experience and coping mechanisms of a school community.

Critical incidents often expose staff and students to loss, threat and trauma which can lead to serious and long term negative mental health outcomes.

A systematic literature review was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of the Cognitive Behavioural Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) in reducing trauma and stress reactions in 8 to 19 year olds.

Ten studies were critically analysed for methodological quality and relevance to the review question.

The studies examined the effectiveness of CBITS and adapted CBITS interventions on a range of outcomes including anxiety, cognitive and behavioural processes, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The CBITS intervention has been shown to have promising results on symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD.

The empirical paper used a mixed methods approach to explore the impact of a critical incident on school staff along with their views and perspectives of psychological support.

In phase one, quantitative data was collected through an online questionnaire which gathered information on staff wellbeing, the impact of the event and EP support.

In phase two, thematic analysis was used to explore staff perspectives of the critical incident, support provided and future support.

Analysis using a Pearson’s product-moment correlation found significant positive relationships between time spent with an EP and EP support, and wellbeing and EP support.

A statistically negative association was found between the impact of the event and wellbeing. From the semi-structured interviews three superordinate themes were identified and eleven subordinate themes.

The superordinate themes were experience of the event, participant’s views of support and proactive and reactive support.

These themes provided insight into the impact of the critical incident and the support provided.


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