Vulnerability to disasters, crises, such as the unforeseeable pandemic we are facing, social isolation, among others, causes an impact on the physical and mental health of its people. According to scholars, human beings in the face of adversity exhibit different behaviors. Throughout history, we have countless examples of successful personalities who, at some point in their lives, faced adverse situations. For example, Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist, was diagnosed at the age of 21 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, lived for 55 years with the incurable disease and changed the field of science (1); Viktor Frankl, survivor of a concentration camp, from his experience and dedication to the study of the fields of psychology and psychiatry, developed Logotherapy, based in the premise that man’s underlying motivator in life is a “will to meaning,” even in the most difficult of circumstances (2). Some individuals overcome their difficulties, others are more vulnerable.
Therefore, identifying the role of individual and collective resilience in overcoming adversity, in promoting physical and mental health, has shown to be an important factor in the recovery process of this pandemic.
One of the definitions of the Cambridge dictionary states that resilience is the “quality of being able to return quickly to a previous good condition after problems” (4). Furthermore, The American Psychological Association states that although we all face trauma, adversity and other stresses, resilience will allow us to adapt to life-changing situations, giving us the capacity to emerge even stronger than before (5). The last concept is even more comprehensive, it goes beyond the return to a previous state. It comprises growth after overcoming the pressure, becoming stronger despite suffering.
The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is an evidence-based family skills training program, which is designed to increase resilience and reduce risk factors for behavioral, emotional, academic and social problems. This program teaches participants social skills such as speaking and listening; planning and organizing family meetings; problem solving; peer resistance; restoring self-esteem; identifying feelings, taking criticism; emotional management such as coping with anger and others (6).
If you think you or anyone you know could benefit from this program, please contact Loise Taliaferro, Strengthening Families Supervisor for Anne Arundel County Department of Health. Our Strengthening Families Program team is getting ready to start our two Fall 2020 14 weeks cycles, via Zoom.
We will be happy to assist our families to build strong, resilient communities!
For more information, go to on https://preventsubstanceamisuse.org/sfp/