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1 SUMMARY Helping Airport and Air Carrier Employees Cope with Traumatic Events This guidebook addresses a gap in the psychological support of aviation employees who respond to traumatic events. Training programs for most airports, large and small, as well as general aviation organizations and smaller airlines do not typically address the stress that can follow man-made or natural disasters. Whether it is a weather phenomenon or an air- craft incident/disaster, every organization must develop a set of protocols and practice the response and the recovery phases for traumatic events. This lack of training can have signif- icant effects on the health and well-being of the employee, as well as, possible legal implica- tions for the employer. This research project has identified and documented that many organizations practice the first-response activities associated with a traumatic event, but do little or no training for the recovery phase which may last a long period of time. The research team has identified many strategies which should edify and augment a mental health recovery plan including an accom- panying training program, so that an employees' natural resiliency is enhanced, or those that are unable to return to normal function can be identified and receive the necessary mental health attention. Highly trained employees are essential to airports and aviation organizations. It is very important for managers, as well as peers to recognize post traumatic stress symptoms that employees may display when they have attended to a natural or manmade disaster and to assist the organization's employees in coping with the psychologically traumatic events. There are many mental health options that one can partake. Most employers have Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs), there are contracted or community mental health providers, per- sonal health care providers, and spiritual guidance. Recommendations for developing training plans for Mental Health Recovery plans include the following: 1. Planning and preparedness, 2. Developing and deploying mitigation strategies, 3. Response to incident, 4. Recovery phase, and 5. Evaluation of the plan. This guidebook is divided into an introduction and background, followed directly by the research team's recommendations for improving employees' resilience to trauma, as well as selected case studies that were derived from the field research. Separate from the guide- book, is the full research process documented in Appendices A, B, and C. The material in Appendix A: Comprehensive Literature Review, Appendix B: Research Methodology, and Appendix C: Data Analysis served as the foundation for the recommendations. It is
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2 recommended that mental health providers, who are brought in to assist aviation orga- nizations with their emergency recovery planning, read Appendix A: Comprehensive Literature Review and Appendix C: Data Analysis to provide the mental health provider the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the most up-to-date literature. The research team, upon completion of the field research, strongly recommends each aviation entity incorporate recovery training in their emergency planning exercises, which integrates the mental health considerations found herein. It has been found through several studies dealing with various traumatic events, that the mental health considerations of an organization's employees is crucial during the recovery from a traumatic event, and for the continued well-being of an employee.