The Road to Resilience

In the months following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, information gathered by APA pointed to the public’s interest in knowing how to become more resilient, adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress. This prompted APA to partner with the Discovery Health Channel to create the Road to Resilience campaign to help the public build resilience skills. A main campaign feature was Aftermath, the Road to Resilience, a documentary that portrayed the lives of five people of differing ages and backgrounds who all live in the same Brooklyn neighborhood. Despite the shattering events of 9/11 and other unpredictable life hardships, these people managed to persevere against tremendous challenges. Psychologists featured in the documentary describe ways that people can and do deal positively with personal loss in the aftermath of tragedy.

The documentary was finished and aired several times on the Discovery Health Channel during the anniversary of 9/11. In addition to the video, other campaign materials are available for psychologists to engage in community outreach. These materials form a Resilience Tool Kit, which includes the Road to Resilience brochure — featuring 10 ways to build resilience — a guide for psychologists on how to hold community resilience-building forums, and tips for talking with the media.

Resilience in a Time of War

While our country has been at war, APA has engaged in a variety of efforts to help military personnel and their loved ones. These efforts complement psychologists’ long history of working with the military and veterans to identify and treat combat related trauma. APA developed a series of brochures based on its Road to Resilience campaign and Mind/Body Health campaign that teach resilience skills and ways to better manage war-related distress.

Specifically geared to returning service members and their families, APA produced Homecoming: Resilience after Wartime  to help families manage adjustment issues. The homecoming materials points out that even when the war is over, stress and uncertainty can continue to require the skills of resilience both from those coming home as from those who stayed home.

For the public, APA developed Resilience in a Time of War which also has a number of related brochures for different age groups that were written for parents and teachers of children in preschool, elementary, middle, and high school, as well as a brochure written specifically to help teens build resilience and manage stress.

Resilience for Kids and Teens

Reading, writing, arithmetic and... resilience? Resilience, the fourth "r," was added to the lesson plans in schools throughout the country when the American Psychological Association launched its Resilience for Kids & Teens campaign. This campaign offers strategies kids can use to bounce-back from life’s everyday problems. Campaign materials for the public include two brochures, Resilience for Kids & Teens: A Guide for Parents and Teachers and Resilience for Teens: Got Bounce?. In addition, APA is offering specially designed a Resilience for Kids and Teens Toolkit for all APA members to help psychologists deliver the resilience message to the public.