Tag Archives: trauma

Healing From the Ashes Events

Healing From The Ashes - Events Flyer. Click the icon to view or download the PDF.

Healing From The Ashes - Events Flyer. Click the icon to view or download the PDF.

Healing From The Ashes has a series of Special Events going on through the month of October. These events include receptions, film screenings, poetry readings and a potluck. The Special Events coincide with the art exhibition of pieces made from remnants rescued from ravaged fire sites and transformed into beautiful and meaningful works of art.  Continue reading →

Pianos, musical instrument sculpture

I am struck by the large number of pianos I have seen among the burned homes. I never knew there were so many pianos in our neighborhood because I never heard them played, and it is tragic to see them lying there.  I would like to make a sculpture out of any remains of musical instruments that were lost in the fire, and it is my hope that this could be used as a tool to help raise money to assist victims who lost so much.  Perhaps this could also be incorporated with some live music while on display at some time in the future. Please, if you find remains of your musical instruments and would like them to find rebirth in a work of art, contact me directly.

Mark Fitzsimmons
2062 La Paloma

Coping With Traumatic Events

Traumatic events are not easy for anyone to understand or accept. The emotional impact of war and other trauma can have devastating effects on the mental well-being of individuals of all ages. Many of us find it easier to focus our energies on the needs of other people at times like these, often to the point of neglecting ourselves.

While taking care of others is a noble effort, it is perfectly okay to place yourself first and to deal with your own reactions and emotions. You can learn ways to cope with the mental and emotional stress and even redirect it in positive ways. In the long run, this will make you a stronger, more reliable resource for family and friends during their times of need.

The following link leads to a wide variety of downloads that include tips for teachers, parents, and emergency/disaster responders impacted Traumatic Events. You must have Adobe Acrobat to Reader to open and read the articles.


Wildfires can take a psychological toll

L.A. Times – by Martha Groves 9/6/2009

For those who have lost homes to wildfire, experienced terror in the face of approaching flames or suffered injury, the psychological effects can be deep and long lasting.

Such was the conclusion of five Rand Corp. researchers who studied hundreds of evacuees after a firestorm ravaged large sections of Southern California in October 2003, destroying more than 3,700 homes and forcing an estimated 100,000 people to flee.

Now, as wildfires again rage across Southern California, a co-author of the study recommends that fire evacuees be aware that mental problems can linger long after flames have been doused.

“It’s quite natural to feel despondent or stressed or on pins and needles for the first days and maybe even weeks,” said Grant N. Marshall, a behavioral and social scientist. “It’s only with the passage of time that if symptoms don’t abate, it may turn into something more long-standing.

“The encouraging thing,” he added, “is that you don’t have to suffer in silence.”

Continue reading →

Station Fire Support Group


I am collecting names of folks impacted by the Station Fire that would be interested in participating in a Support Group.

I am the Administrator for the San Fernando Valley Long Term Recovery Group serving residents from the Sayre/Marek Wildfires in ’08.

We created a very successful support group for Sylmar and Lake View Terrace residents and we’d like to do the same for your community.

It’s still in the planning stages, and in order for us to officially move forward with arranging a space to hold the group, we have to know how much interest there is.

Support groups are ideally a maximum of 12-15 participants. They are held on a once a week basis and would be facilitated by a mental health professional.  If there are more than 12-15 interested residents, we will work on creating a second support group if necessary.

This is a great way for neighbors to keep in touch, and have a safe and supportive environment to release their concerns at this traumatic time. Together, you can work towards emotional recovery. Also note that whether you had a complete loss, partial loss, or no loss, everyone in this community has been affected by this disaster and all are welcome to register.  There will no fee for this service.

Please contact me either by phone or email if you are interested in signing up at: