Fourteen-year-old Katelynn Hughes lost everything in Colorado’s Black Forest wildfire. “My stuff didn’t live,” she says. “All my stuff from my childhood burned. That was sad.”
|Katelynn Hughes receives a donated Build-a-Bear from |
Red Cross disaster mental health volunteer John Gergen,
Black Forest, Colorado, June 28, 2013.
Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
Gergen has provided disaster mental health services, he says, since before disaster mental health was called disaster mental health. His specialty is working with children.
“Children are resilient, but they can be overwhelmed,” says Gergen. He recommends that parents pay attention to possible signs of stress, such as a child tearing up or not sleeping.
“Getting children back to their normal routines helps reduce stress,” he says.
For Katelynn, regular routines will be disrupted for a long while, but she appears to be doing all right even though going home after the fire was tough.
“It was strange to see my house burned down. But it was cool, she says, to see that some things, like my little sister’s tea set, survived.”