Lee to deliver April 1 lecture on support for disaster responders

BEMIDJI, Minn. – When disaster strikes, counselors and therapists are among those who respond. Over and over, they hear stories of loss, pain and grief, sometimes becoming traumatized themselves.

Dr. Russ Lee, professor of psychology at Bemidji State University, will present “Assisting the Assisters After a Disaster” as part of a spring Tuesday morning lecture series sponsored by the Academy of Lifelong Learning and coordinated by the BSU Center for Research and Innovation (CRI). The lecture will be held Tuesday, April 1, at 10 a.m. at the CRI, an off-campus facility located at 3801 Bemidji Avenue North. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Lee co-wrote a book on the subject, “Crisis and Trauma in College and Universities,” published in 2004.

In listening to the stories of victims, counselors may relive the disaster and suffer stress, Lee said. And then, he said, they may feel silly for feeling stress, since they weren’t the primary victims.

“We all want to be tough and strong and brave,” he said. “People are not aware, or are just becoming aware, that this is a problem.”

Police and fire departments, who routinely respond to disasters, generally have systems in place to take care of the responders. However, Lee said, other institutions, such as schools, may not.

The Academy of Lifelong Learning offers humanities-based programs that are made possible in part with private donations and BSU support. More information about ALL is available by contacting the Center for Research and Innovation at (218) 755-4900 or by visiting its Web site, http://www.cri-bsu.org.

2008 Spring Academy of Lifelong Learning Lecture Series Schedule

  • April 1: Russ Lee, “Assisting the Assisters After a Disaster.”
  • April 8: Janet Rith-Najerian, “Dragonflies.”
  • April 15: Fulton Gallagher, “Opera – For Real!”

April 1
– 10-11 a.m. – Academy of Lifelong Learning lecture series presents Dr. Russ Lee, “Assisting the Assisters After a Disaster.” Location: Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation; 3801 Bemidji Ave. N.; Bemidji, Minn. Cost: free. For information: (218) 755-4900; (888) 738-3244; http://www.cri-bsu.org.