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How Does a Mass Casualty Event Impact Staff of the Coroner's Office and is Mindfulness Meditation an Effective Tool for Mediating These Impacts?

This is a past event.

Friday, October 15, 2021 at 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Virtual Event

This study was conducted in consideration of the horrific event on October 1st in Las Vegas, Nevada, where a gunman opened fire at a crowd of approximately 22,000 people, killing fifty-eight and injuring over seven hundred. The purpose of this observational pilot study was to evaluate the psychological impact that this event has on staff members of the Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner and to test the hypothesis that guided mindfulness meditation is an effective method for reducing the negative impact of stressors caused by the mass casualty incident.
Staff members were observed during a 10-week period of meditation led by experienced instructors and were interviewed and surveyed regarding the psychological, emotional, and physical effects of their job and October-1, as well as the effects of meditation. We hypothesized that posttraumatic stress symptoms would be present, along with physical symptoms of stress, and that meditation would help to mediate these effects. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress, specifically hypervigilance, avoidance, re-experiencing, and distressing or intrusive thoughts, were prevalent during the interviews, which is consistent with recent research (Brondolo et al., 2018). Meditation was found to improve these symptoms, based on the Beck Anxiety Inventory (Beck et al., 1988), Effects of Meditation scale, and post-observational interviews.
The data from this study underscore the necessity to consider the mental health of employees of the coroner’s offices around the country, particularly after mass fatality events, but also during day-to-day duties. Further, this study provides evidence that meditation may be a useful tool in meditating the adverse effects of traumatic work experiences in coroner's offices.

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