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Psychological first aid can mitigate the effects of overwhelming trauma and loss

My grandmother was filled with grief as she told me by phone about life on the island of St. Thomas after Hurricanes Irma and Maria had blasted through it. “Tears keep running from my eyes uncontrollably because everyone on the island is suffering,” she lamented, then paused, too sad to continue. I could picture her in her car charging her cellphone — the engine idling in the background. The decades-old mango tree that I had climbed as a child was now uprooted and stripped of all its leaves; the vibrant tropical landscape replaced by an eerie brown hue. “Everything is now rubble,” she said. At 80 years old, Gramma, as I affectionately call her, had weathered many storms. But Ir...

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