Module 1 > Infrastructure disruptions and their impact on communities
When individuals experience catastrophic events that prevent them from being able to meet their basic needs, they experience trauma, which can have significant and lasting impacts on health and wellbeing. Entire communities can experience trauma in similar ways.
In 2020, daily life in much of the world was up-ended as communities struggled to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Schools, workplaces, and many businesses shut their physical doors, and residents were asked to stay at home, while essential workers continued to serve critical and basic needs of populations. Life as we know it was disrupted and social, physical and economic infrastructure across the country had to adapt quickly. Understanding these repercussions, in April 2020, the American Psychological Association called the coronavirus pandemic an epidemiological and psychological crisis.
Whether due to an infectious disease, hurricane, or other disaster, catastrophic events create infrastructure disruptions that have profound impacts and can result in high levels of trauma across populations and a breakdown of the very social networks that, under other circumstances, help communities survive and recover from traumatic experiences. At the same time, catastrophic events often show the resilience of communities and can spur quick decision-making on actions that otherwise might have been stalled.
During prolonged infrastructure disruptions such as a pandemic, ongoing and real-time dialogue with residents and data collection is critical to inform the actions of government and community organizations. Browse this list of existing tools (surveys, questionnaires, and others) that local government and community-based organizations can use to begin to measure the impacts of the pandemic on communities. We’ll talk more about existing data sources and evaluation for suicide prevention in Modules 2-4.
In this video, catch a glimpse of what San Francisco, St. Louis, and Baltimore have been doing, even during infrastructure disruptions due to COVID-19. From the pandemic to social and racial injustices to hurricanes and flooding, our communities have experienced a series of traumas that have strained our mental wellbeing. But across the US, communities are coming together to heal—building systems, understanding, and connections to help us recover and prevent future traumas. If you want to talk health, you have to talk healing.