Betty Lai is a child psychologist and disaster researcher. Her research focuses on how children and families respond to disasters and other traumatic stressors. Her recent work has focused on children's mental health symptoms, physical health symptoms, and school functioning following large scale disasters.
More people are raising these issues and are raising them earlier. Ten years ago, we really had to make the case that we should be thinking about mental health outcomes for kids after disasters.
We know that kids are one of the most vulnerable populations when they experience natural disasters. They really depend on adults to help them through these situations, but they also have fewer experiences to make sense of what it means when your world is turned upside down.
When you’re a child that is from a more vulnerable or marginalized group, you’re at higher risk of experiencing recovery stressors. So those are things like not being able to go back to school, missing more school days, having to move multiple times.