Topic 1 Introduction

Children and adolescents are vulnerable population with respect to their physiological and psychological capacity to prepare for, or respond to, the effects of health emergencies and crisis situations (Codreanu, Celenza, & Jacobs, 2014). The psychosocial effects of extreme events are resulting from a complex range of primary (arising directly from crisis’ situation) and secondary stressors (indirectly related to crisis’ situation) (Department of Health, 2009). While most children and adolescents will experience relatively transient distress after exposure to health emergencies and crisis situations followed by the processes of adaptation, some of them will experience more severe mental health difficulties which in some cases may require intensive and long-term interventions and treatment (NATO/EAPC, 2009; Department of Health, 2009). It is important to be acquainted with information about children’s typical reactions and symptoms that could indicate a need for further evaluation. Understanding of the differences between groups of children and adolescents, exposed to health emergencies and crisis situations, who do or do not develop mental health difficulties (Trickey, Siddaway, Meiser-Stedman, Serpell, & Field, 2012) is related to addressing factors associated with situation risk and exposure, but also with examination of risk and protective factors within individual, his/her experiences, and environment.