Group Interventions in Rural Schools to Assist with a Community Trauma

Linda Leek Openshaw


Rural communities and school districts often face traumatic events. These can be the result of accidents, suicides, school bullying, and shootings. This paper documents a group crisis intervention at a rural high school after a horrific traffic accident where a vehicle struck and killed three students. When a crisis takes place in rural schools and communities, group work is an effective tool to offset the effects of grief and distress that students often experience. School personnel must create support groups within a short time following a traumatic event. Interventions are most effective when schools have a pre-determined action plan, have staff trained in correct intervention techniques, and can seamlessly transition into crisis intervention and support mode. Quick professional response through group support will help students alleviate the effects of traumatic events.


rural community crisis, school groups work, student support

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