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.


  • 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.


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


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.

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