Residents Reminded to Address Mental Health Needs Following a Flood

Contact: Ron Leix, MSP/EMHSD Public Information Officer, 517-336-6464
Agency: State Police

SEOC News Release No. 7 - April 25, 2014

LANSING – The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) are urging all residents affected by the April flooding to pay attention to their mental health needs as the water recedes and the recovery process begins. Disasters take an enormous toll on all people involved, and the MDCH encourages residents to seek emotional support as needed.

Recovery following a flood can be a difficult process. During this period of transition, it is important for those affected to eat and sleep well, seek medical attention if necessary, stay connected with family and friends, and establish priorities and goals.

“Traumatic events such as the recent flooding in Michigan are upsetting and exhausting,” said James K. Haveman, director of the MDCH. “I encourage everyone affected to take time to consider their mental health and seek help if needed. Michigan has resources available to help deal with the emotional affects these events have on individuals and families.”

Common reactions to traumatic events include: difficulty making decisions or focusing, feeling depressed, changes in appetite or sleeping patterns, feeling mentally and physically drained and becoming easily frustrated. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, address them with a licensed mental health professional. For information regarding mental health resources available in your community, visit the MDCH website and click on your county at,1607,7-132-2941_4868_4899-178824--,00.html.

Everyone’s reaction to a disaster is different. If you have children, pay extra attention to their reactions as their ability to cope is often tied to your reaction. You can help your children cope by managing your own feelings and establishing a sense of control. Additionally, senior citizens, disabled citizens and those who do not speak English as a first language are at particular risk. You can help these populations by giving extra attention and providing resources as needed.

If you are in need of information or resources to help you and your family recover from the flooding, please contact 2-1-1 and speak with a representative. They will provide you with information and resources that may be able to help.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also offers a variety of resources to support mental health during disasters, including a free Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990. For more information, go to

About the Disaster

Gov. Rick Snyder declared on April 17 a "state of disaster" for Newaygo and Osceola counties due to severe weather and widespread flooding, making available state aid and assistance to communities in the disaster area. The governor's declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state response and recovery efforts.

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is the emergency operations center for the state of Michigan. Located in Lansing, the SEOC is overseen by the MSP/EMHSD and coordinates response and recovery efforts by state agencies and local government.  The SEOC is staffed by members of state agencies for decision making and information coordination during disasters or emergencies in the state of Michigan.


Angela Minicuci, Public Information Officer

State Emergency Operations Center