"Prepare" Secondary Objectives

3 Keys Framework - Prepare
Learn about the community and its needs before addressing stress

Engage with community members to assess their needs and assets. Determine whether they want assistance with psychosocial issues as part of this process. Learn how community members receive health information and about important centers of cohesion or support. Communities vary in terms of which sources of information they trust, and cultural differences often play a role in whom is seen as being primarily responsible for the physical and mental health of the community.

Build lasting relationships and interventions

Cultivate and maintain relationships with community leaders and local helping professionals to build capacity and resources for continuing services, such as informational or mental health support, even after the institutions involved in the initial response conclude their activities.

Be aware of chronic stress, conflict, and retraumatization

Interventions to increase community resilience are unlikely to succeed unless public health professionals or other intervening individuals engage the community with an understanding of the psychosocial impact of CEC. Chronic stress can affect people’s health and behavior. Community conflict over how to define and respond to contamination (e.g., to relocate the community or not) can be a major “secondary” stressor. Finally, some community members may experience retraumatization as they experience or observe health effects they attribute to exposures, as new contaminating incidents occur, or as new public health activities begin.

Page last reviewed: March 23, 2021