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Care For Each Other

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It is natural to experience different and strong emotions in a disaster. Not all individuals respond to trauma in the same way. For some people, exposure to a traumatic event can negatively affect their mental, physical, social, emotional or spiritual well-being for a long time after the initial incident. Take care of yourself and each other before, during, and after an emergency, and know when and where to find help. Finding treatment in a timely fashion can help individuals minimize negative outcomes.

The Basics

  • Talk to a friend or family member about your feelings. Seek professional help if feelings of stress, anxiety, and grief persist for several days or affect your ability to complete everyday tasks.
  • Continue with your treatment plans if you have a mental health condition, and monitor for any new symptoms.
  • Responders: Work in teams to limit your time working alone and help prevent and reduce burnout and secondary traumatic stress.

Quick Tips

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. Overexposure to emotional images can upset adults and children. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.
  • Parents: Set a good example for children by managing stress through healthy lifestyle choices: Eat healthy, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid drug, alcohol, and tobacco use.
  • Parents: Involve children in preparing for an emergency to teach them the basics of staying safe and make emergencies less stressful.
  • Discuss the common signs of distress with friends and family:
    • Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
    • Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels.
    • Difficulty concentrating.
    • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.
    • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
    • Worsening of chronic health problems.
    • Anger or short-temper.
    • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
  • Responders: Remind yourself that working long shifts does not mean you will make your best contribution. Limit yourself to 12-hour shifts, and take breaks.

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