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.