941-462-4807 meg@megyounglcsw.com

It seems like every time we turn around, there’s another crisis in the news. Whether floods, earthquakes, or other natural disasters, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, or bombs going off in crowded places killing innocent people, there seems to always be something scary and disturbing happening. Disasters of any variety can have severe impacts on our mental health. People involved in the disasters as well as first responders and family members/friends of those involved can have a number of psychological stress reactions that can cause lasting impacts. What can you do if you or someone you know and love was impacted by a disaster (or even if you just heard about it and are impacted by it)? First, take control of what you can. Remember, you can only control yourself and your responses. Make sure you are getting the support and care you need in order to be okay. Take inventory of what happened and what you can (and may have to) do next. Reach out for help if you need it – identify what others can do to help you – is it emotional? Financial? Basic needs (food, shelter, water)? Etc. Ask for the help you need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if you were not directly impacted by the disaster, it may have still had an impact on you which you need to reach out for help to get through. Talk with others about how you are coping. Additionally, it often helps to “get involved.” Join a group that helps others, volunteer. Often giving back can bring peace and help us make sense of what happened while helping others who are going through an event similar to what we went through. Allow yourself to grieve. Often with disasters, something was lost – whether tangible, physical or emotional. You are not alone if you are struggling to cope with a disaster.