*Presenting: Disaster Recovery After the Pandemic & Post-Traumatic Earth Disorder

Kathryn Ellard, Sallie Lynch, and Storm SwainConstitution Hall Room 2

Presentation One

Disaster Recovery After the Pandemic: Considerations for Supporting Resilience and Long-Term Healing in COVID-Bereaved Youth and Families

Abstract: A global pandemic such as COVID-19 should be considered a disaster that requires recovery and trauma-specific approaches. Like other disasters and traumatic events, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted daily life for an extended period of time and harmed the world socially, economically and psychologically, but perhaps the most severe impact has been the staggering loss of life. Since the start of the pandemic, over 6 million lives have been lost worldwide and over 1 million in the U.S., including losses in 1 in 5 in Tuesday’s Children’s families. These are families who have already experienced previous trauma or loss due to terrorism, military conflict or mass violence. To date, 290,000 children in the U.S. have lost a parent or primary caregiver in the pandemic; many of those lost their sole caregiver. In this session we will draw on experience from long-term disaster response and recovery efforts and community resilience work to discuss challenges, effective outreach methods, and strategies to support youth and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and in need of long-term healing.

Many families bereaved by COVID face additional barriers to care, mitigating risk factors, as well as psychosocial and socioeconomic challenges. Data has shown that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on younger children (13 and under) and communities of color. A disproportionate number of Black and Latinx households suffered COVID-related deaths. Many of these children live in multi-generational households. The loss of a grandparent, particularly one living in the household and caring for the child, can be as devastating as losing a parent. Youth and families in these household are likely to have pre-existing economic hardships and experiences of structural racism, which may make resilience in the wake of trauma more challenging.

Although the pandemic presents significant and unique challenges, there are several tested strategies and promising practices that can help address COVID bereavement for children and their families. Some proposed frameworks recommend focusing on resilience goals, promotion mindset, youth strengths and prosocial behaviors (McCarty et al., 2022), while others demonstrate that incorporating storytelling allows for identifying emotional states and promotes a sense of hope (Sullivan 2021).

Tuesday's Children's COVID Response Program is a three-year initiative to build the capacity of key stakeholders interfacing with children and families–including educators, healthcare professionals, community-based organizations and community leaders, policy makers and institutions–in order to improve bereavement care and promote long-term healing. The project also includes peer support and community and civic engagement opportunities for families impacted by Covid-19 losses. By strengthening the natural frameworks in which children and families cope with trauma and loss and building collaborative partnerships in bereavement care, we aim for these programs and resources to improve protective factors for children and contribute to their well-being.


Kathryn Ellard

    • Pronouns: she/her/hers
    • Title: Program Manager
    • Bio: Kathryn Ellard joined Tuesday’s Children as the COVID-19 Response Manager in January 2022. She brings over ten years of experience in the field of public health. In the past decade she has worked with hospitals, non-profits, and government agencies both domestic and abroad. She is passionate about keeping communities safe, healthy, and connected. Prior to joining Tuesday’s Children Kathryn was the Assistant Director for the country’s one and only ‘DOE Situation Room,’ a command center for NYC public schools COVID-19 return to school operations. She has also worked overseas in a special needs school in Rabat, Morocco and completed a community health needs assessments in Port-au-Prince and Thiotte, Haiti. She conducted program planning for the Ryan White Program in San Antonio, Texas and on the US/Mexico border. Kathryn also developed childhood health and wellness programs for immigrant families in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and created yoga therapy programs for women with cancer and chronic illnesses in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Kathryn earned her MS in Global Heath from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and her BA in Speech Language Pathology/Audiology at Loyola College in Baltimore, MD.

Sallie Lynch

    • Pronouns: she/her/hers
    • Title: Senior Program and Development Consultant
    • Bio: Sallie Lynch, MA, Senior Program and Development Consultant at Tuesday’s Children, has 20+ years of experience serving families of 9/11 victims, responders and survivors, post-9/11 military families of the fallen, global victims of terrorism and communities impacted by mass violence. She is the principal researcher and author of Tuesday’s Children’s evidence-based Long-Term Healing Model, a training curriculum and online toolkit for community resilience. Sallie has provided capacity-building support, training and customized guidance in the aftermath of terrorism, mass violence and wide-scale trauma and loss to frontline service providers, community leaders and survivors in the U.S. and 34 countries engaged in Tuesday's Children's peacebuilding initiative Project COMMON BOND. She has secured federal and institutional funding for expansive multiyear projects addressing trauma and loss in response to terrorism, targeted violence and the COVID-19 pandemic. In the aftermath of 9/11, Sallie was co-investigator of a longitudinal research and intervention program with Columbia University School of Social Work and the FDNY Counseling Service Unit for 9/11 widows and children who lost a firefighter parent. She is co-author of FDNY Crisis Counseling: Innovative Responses to 9/11 Firefighters, Families and Communities (Wiley, 2006) and publications in U.S. international journals on long-term healing and community resilience. She has served on advisory committees for Vibrant Emotional Health’s Crisis Emotional Care Team (CECT), Peace of Mind Afghanistan (PoMA) and the UN Centre for Counter-Terrorism. She has presented at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, the United Nations, the Department of Homeland Security and to other distinguished audiences. She holds an MA in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University and a BA in Cultural Studies from Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Sallie is certified in Grief Education and Psychological First Aid and is co-founder of Tuesday’s Children’s Survivors of Tragedy Outreach Program (STOP).

Presentation Two

PTED: Post Traumatic Earth Disorder and the formation of Earth Empathy: Lessons from COVID-19 for Mental Health perspectives on the Climate Crisis

Abstract: Mental health practitioners are increasingly seeing “eco-anxiety” (Pihkala 2018, APA 2017), “Climate grief” (Cunsolo and Ellis, 2016), and trauma in relation to ‘Climate’ (“Climate trauma,” Kaplan 2016; “Tierratrauma,” Albrecht 2019, “Geotrauma,” Craps 2020), show up in their practices, and as issues of collective public concern.  However, the global and diverse nature of such a threat poses a complexity that is clinically challenging, and a reflexivity, which implicates the practitioner in relation to their own sense of threat regarding the state of the Climate. This situation is not dissimilar to COVID-19, a global disaster that impacted people in different ways, traumatized individuals, and groups, and threatened both patient and practitioner alike. This panel presentation offers a model for a practitioner to think about Climate from a Mental Health perspective, in a way that connects to both the ‘big picture’ and the individual case, seeing the planet as an Ecological Body that is facing trauma, and the human response as part of that interdependent picture, rather than separate from it.  This calls us to have both a trauma- and resilience informed approach to climate anxiety and grief, through an empathy not only with the human and other-specied inhabitants of the Earth, but the Earth itself. This metaphor offers a powerful image of community and connection on an ecological level, that resources practitioners and disaster responders to cope with the increasing frequency and magnitude of extreme weather-related events, alongside the need to engage in mitigation and preparedness, and have a worldview that supports rather than negates or avoids climate realities.

The presentation offers "Post Traumatic Earth Disorder (PTED)” as a functional analogy for the current reality of the Climate Crisis.  It will discuss the processes of the ecological body, akin to the human body.  It will correlate PTSD symptoms, with PTED symptomatology, and engage participants in questions regarding mental health and spiritual resources and resilience.


Dr. Storm Swain

  • Pronouns: she/her/hers
  • Title: The Frederick Houk Borsch Associate Professor of Anglican Studies, Pastoral Care, and Theology
  • Bio: Dr. Swain is a seminary professor, pastoral psychotherapist, former Canon Pastor at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC, and a leader in the field of Disaster Spiritual Care. She has been an invited lecturer in Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, and the United States, being most known for her book Trauma and Transformation at Ground Zero: A Pastoral Theology (Fortress Press, 2011). In 2019, Swain was the keynote speaker for the Uniting (Church of Australia’s) conference, Pastoral Strength: Spirituality in Untrusting Waters, which was ‘anchored’ by Irish peacebuilder and poet, Padraig O’Tuama. Dr. Swain served as a chaplain in the American Red Cross’ 9/11 Disaster response in 2001, and on the Leadership team of New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS), until 2009. Dr. Swain was a moderator in the 2019 NYDIS Summit on Disaster Preparedness for Religious Leaders, and coauthored the Thrive NYC Mental Health Toolkit for Faith and Community Leaders, during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In this time of the COVID-19 Pandemic, she has been an invited speaker on virtual town halls and webinars on pandemic grief and trauma for the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab, Odyssey Network, Macedonian Ministry, the Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth, Priest Pulse, Thrive NYC, Interfaith Center of New York, and NYDIS, also producing a resource on ‘Embodied Coping in a time of COVID-19 Crisis.’ In 2022, Dr. Swain was the respondent to the ‘Psychology, Culture, and Religion’ section of the American Academy of Religion, on ‘Climate Catastrophe, Eco-Anxiety and Climate Grief: Psychological and Religious Perspectives.’ Her current sabbatical work is on the Climate Crisis, based in the scientific community of Woods Hole, MA.
Sun 12:00 am - 12:00 am
100 max
climate change, COVID-19, day three, presentations, streaming