Residents Reminded to Address Mental Behavioral Health Needs Following Flooding

Contact: State Emergency Operations Center Public Information Officer, 517-284-3882

July 3, 2017

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are urging all residents affected by the flooding caused by torrential rain between June 22 and 23, to pay attention to their mental behavioral health needs as the water recedes and the recovery process begins. Disasters take an enormous toll on all people involved, and MDHHS 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.

“While we tend to think about how emergencies such as the recent flooding can affect people’s physical health and safety, we also need to think about the potential impact on their mental health,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon. “The state – through partnerships with our partners in local communities – has resources available to residents who need help dealing with the emotional effects of the flooding.”

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 MDHHS website and click on your county at www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2941_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, residents with access and functional needs 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 disasterdistress.samhsa.gov

About the Disaster
Lt. Gov. Calley declared a “state of disaster” for Isabella and Midland counties on June 23. On June 28, Gov. Rick Snyder instructed the Michigan State Police (MSP) to amend a recent “state of disaster” declaration to include two additional counties in mid-Michigan after severe weather and intense rain struck the counties resulting in widespread flooding damage. Along with Isabella and Midland counties, the amended disaster declaration now includes Bay and Gladwin counties. 

By declaring a "state of disaster," the state of Michigan will make available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the disaster area as outlined in the Michigan Emergency Management Plan. Calley’s declaration authorizes the MSP/EMHSD to coordinate state efforts.

The public is encouraged to monitor local media for up-to-date weather reports and emergency information. For updated information and additional safety tips, follow the MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS or visit www.michigan.gov/miready.