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In the face of disaster, it is natural to feel overwhelmed or to be angry, sad, anxious, or fearful. These are normal reactions to the abnormal events being experienced. Learning how to build resiliency can help. This means thinking about what you'll do after an emergency and how you'll use your coping skills to help manage the difficult challenges you may face. Everyone who experiences an emergency or disaster is affected by it in some way, and should expect that it will take time to recover.
Positive coping skills after a disaster can include:
- Staying Safe. Making sure you and your family's basic needs for safety, food, shelter and medical care are addressed. Tackle your most important issues first, in small steps. Assistance is often available from organizations such as FEMA, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other community organizations.
- Staying Healthy. Pushing yourself too hard after an emergency can hurt your recovery efforts. Getting adequate sleep will help your mind cope with stress. Maintaining a balanced diet and drinking water will help keep you healthy and alert while recovering. Establishing daily routines, particularly if children are involved, can help make the recovery process feel more manageable.
- Staying Connected. Connecting with others by giving and receiving support is essential to a positive recovery experience.
- Being patient. Recognize that stress can cause intense emotional reactions. Be aware that sometimes, additional help is needed when strong emotional reactions to a disaster last for two or more weeks.
- Disaster Distress Helpline and Tips for Coping Before, During or After a Disaster
This free, confidential help line from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Agency (SAMSHA) is available 24/7 and provides crisis counseling and support to individuals affected by disaster. To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746.
- American Red Cross, Safe and Well
This free online service from the American Red Cross allows individuals to easily communicate to loved ones that they are safe and well after a disaster. Register yourself as safe and well, or search for others.
- Returning Home After a Disaster: Be Healthy and Safe
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)