COPING WITH DISASTERS
The emotional toll that disaster brings can sometimes be even more devastating than the financial strains of damage and loss of your home, business, or personal property.
UNDERSTAND DISASTER EVENTS
- Everyone who sees or experiences a disaster is affected by it in some way.
- It is normal to feel anxious about the safety of yourself, family and friends.
- Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event.
- Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover.
- Focusing on your strengths will help you heal.
- Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy.
- Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping.
Children and the elderly are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster through exposure of the media can be affected.
Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies or professional therapists for counseling.
RECOGNIZE DISASTER STRESS
When adults have the following signs, they may need crisis counseling or stress management assistance:
- Difficulty communicating thoughts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives
- Low threshold of frustration
- Increased use of drugs/alcohol Limited attention span
- Poor work performance Headaches/stomach problems
- Tunnel vision/muffled hearing Colds or flu-like persistent symptoms
- Disorientation or confusion
- Difficulty concentrating
- Reluctance to leave home
- Depression or sadness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Mood-swings and often/easy bouts of cryings
- Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt
- Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone
EASING DISASTER STRESS
The following are ways to ease disaster-related stress:
- Talk with someone about your feelings.
- Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.
- Do not hold yourself responsible or be frustrated if you cannot help directly with the rescue.
- Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional health by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation and meditation.
- Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.
- Spend time with family and friends.
- Participate in memorials.
- Use existing support groups.
- Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking supplies and doing positive actions.