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CDC - Maintain a Healthy State of Mind in a Disaster: Children, Adults, Seniors - May 18, 2011

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  • CDC - Maintain a Healthy State of Mind in a Disaster: Children, Adults, Seniors - May 18, 2011

    Maintain a Healthy State of Mind

    Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stressful situations. Resilience—the ability to adapt well to life's ups and downs—can help manage stress and feelings of anxiety. Everyone can develop resilience. It involves thoughts and actions that can be learned and practiced over time.
    Anyone who experiences a disaster is affected by it, whether directly or indirectly through location, family or friends, or exposure to media coverage of the event.
    Even if a disaster, such as a terrorist act, produces little physical damage, it can bring fear, confusion, and uncertainty into daily life. Strong and varied emotional reactions to such an event are natural. People are resilient and able to recover from difficult experiences.
    Given the uncontrollable nature of disasters, some people question whether they can take steps to plan for catastrophic events. Actually, we know that the more people prepare for the unexpected, the better they manage these situations.
    The following sections explore common reactions to disasters and how people in different age groups can prepare for, respond to, and recover from their experiences.





    http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/mind/

  • #2
    Re: CDC - Maintain a Healthy State of Mind in a Disaster - May 18, 2011

    Parents and Caregivers
    Children base their reactions in part on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with a disaster calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. The better prepared parents are, the more reassuring they are to others around them, especially children.
    Self care and preparation are critical for parents and caregivers. The more prepared, rested, and relaxed they are, the better they can respond to unexpected events and the more they can make decisions that will be in the best interest of those for whom they are responsible.
    Children's reactions depend on their age and are affected by how close they are to an event, their level of exposure to it through TV, and how they see their parents and caregivers reacting.
    Seeing repeated images of a disaster in the media can intensify people's distress. Early on, consider limiting the amount of exposure you want for yourself and your loved ones.
    What you can do to help others cope with disaster

    • Now:
      Get informed; develop a family disaster plan; assemble disaster supplies kits; talk about your actions; think about how to handle stress; ask questions about things you don't understand; practice your plans; identify support networks in your community.
    • At the start of a disaster:
      Listen to the authorities; show understanding; share facts with children; share plans to keep them safe.
    • During a disaster:
      Calm fears that someone will be killed or injured; calm fears that children will be left alone or separated from their family; stay as connected as possible with kids and with others, as it provides care, support, and distraction.
    • After a disaster:
      Calm fears that it will happen again.

    Common Reactions

    In most children, these common reactions will fade over time. Children who were directly exposed to a disaster can become upset again; behavior related to the event may return if they see or hear reminders of what happened. If children continue to be very upset, if their reactions hurt their schoolwork or relationships, then parent may want to talk to a professional or have their children to talk to a provider who specializes in children's needs.
    For infants to 6 year olds

    Infants may become more cranky. They may cry more than usual or want to be held and cuddled more. Preschool and kindergarten children may feel helpless, powerless and frightened about being separated from their parent/caregiver. They may return to bed-wetting and have a hard time sleeping.
    For 7 to 10 year olds

    Older children who know about loss may feel sad, mad or afraid the event will happen again. Peers may share false information that parents or caregivers then would need to correct. They may focus on details of the event and want to talk about it all the time. This may disrupt their concentration and affect how well they do in school.
    For preteens and teenagers

    Some preteens and teenagers respond with risky behaviors. This could include reckless driving, alcohol or drug use. Others may become afraid to leave home. They may cut way back on how much they hang out with their friends. They can feel overwhelmed by their intense emotions and yet be unable to talk about them. Those emotions may lead to increased friction, arguing and even fighting with siblings, parents/caregivers or other adults.
    For special-needs children

    Children who are ventilator-dependent, or are confined to a wheelchair or bed, may have even more pronounced reactions to threatened or actual terrorism. The same is true for youth with other physical or mental limitations. They might display feelings like distress, worry or anger because they have less control over how they get around than other people. They may need extra verbal reassurance, or more explanations, hugs, comfort and other positive physical contact.
    Not all children respond these ways. Some might have more severe, longer-lasting reactions that are influenced by the following factors:
    • Direct exposure to the disaster: whether they were evacuated or saw people injured or dying would affect them, as would being injured themselves or feeling their own lives were threatened.
    • Loss: the death or major injury of a family member, close friend or pet.
    • Ongoing stress from the effects of disaster: this includes being away from home, losing contact with friends and neighbors and losing things that were important to them, like a favorite toy or access to a playground. Their lives are disrupted when they no longer have a usual meeting place or their routines and living conditions change.
    • A prior experience of trauma: including having lived through or observed abuse or a major disaster.

    Online resources

    For more information about how to cope with terrorism, visit the following:

    For more information for parents, caregivers, and teachers, visit the following:

    For more information about emergency preparedness and response, visit the following:

    For information about how to create a family plan, visit the following:

    This information is provided by the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).





    http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/mind/parents/

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: CDC - Maintain a Healthy State of Mind in a Disaster - May 18, 2011

      Middle School Students
      When people watch news reports about natural disasters or terrorist attacks or school shootings, they may feel confused and scared. Maybe they worry about themselves and the safety of their family and friends. Disasters disrupt our way of life and peace of mind. They can make people feel unsafe and afraid.
      The following information can help people prepare for a disaster. The more someone learns now, the easier it can be for them to deal later on with a disaster.
      How do people feel after a disaster?

      Lots of people are able to work through painful feelings. Most of the time they recover in weeks or months. Uncomfortable feelings and reactions
      tend to fade and disappear. Some of the more common reactions are:
      • Shock, numbness, and disbelief.
      • Having a hard time thinking clearly or
        focusing on school, friends, and family.
      • Eating too much or too little.
      • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep and having bad dreams or nightmares.
      • Feeling sad, mad, or afraid.
      • Crying more easily or wanting to cry.
      • Feeling grouchy, uneasy, worried, or moody.
      • Feeling bad that they are okay while others are not.
      • Feeling helpless.
      • Wanting to be alone a lot, or not wanting to be alone at all.

      These are common reactions. They may go away for a while and then return when something reminds you of the disaster. Some people also may have stomachaches, headaches, skin rashes, more allergic reactions, more colds, or a run-down feeling.
      What can people do?

      It makes sense to do what you can before a disaster happens. You can:
      • Talk to your parents. Help them put together a disaster supplies kit.
      • Make a plan with your family or the people you live with. Decide how to stay in touch with them if there is a disaster. Set up a meeting place.
      • Learn about existing preparedness plans in your school and in your town. Share what you learn with your family.
      • Learn more about how people react to stress and different ways to manage it.

      If something bad happens, how do people deal with?

      It helps most people to talk about what happened and how it makes them feel. When you feel like talking, it's a good idea to find friends, family, or other people you trust who have lived through the same kinds of things, and talk to them. It's also a good idea to take care of yourself physically. Eating right, exercising, getting plenty of rest. and returning to your routine should help you feel better. It also helps if you can find meaning in what happened or how you handled things.
      How does someone know they need extra help to feel better?

      Sometimes, even after you try most of these things, you still might not be able to get back to your regular routines. You might need help from a counselor if, after several weeks or so, you:
      • Suffer so much or for so long that you don't think you can stand it.
      • Can't think clearly or do your school work.
      • Have a hard time helping your family.
      • Are more likely to cause yourself injury or disease by:
        • Drinking or smoking.
        • Using street drugs.
        • Using too much medicine.
        • Being careless on skateboards, rollerblades, bikes, etc.
        • Threatening, hurting, or fighting people.

      • Have eating or sleeping problems.
      • Feel like hurting yourself or others.

      How would someone get outside help?

      It takes strength to ask for help. Asking for help may sometimes feel uncomfortable, but seeking the assistance you need can help you deal with things better. Start by talking to one of the following:
      • A parent or someone else who takes care of you.
      • Your family doctor.
      • A pastoral care counselor.
      • A school counselor or mental health professional.
      • Someone at your community health center or the local mental health clinic.

      Online resources

      Check out these links for more information about how to deal with disasters:

      This information is provided by the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).




      http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparednes.../middleschool/

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: CDC - Maintain a Healthy State of Mind in a Disaster - May 18, 2011

        High School Students

        Disasters like hurricanes; tsunamis; the September 11, 2001, attacks; and school shootings may be upsetting. They may cause people to question their own safety, the safety of their families and friends, and what is right and wrong. These types of questions are natural.
        The following information can help you prepare and cope more easily with disasters. It describes common feelings and reactions you may have. It also suggests things you can do to get ready. This knowledge can reduce your fear and help you prepare for, withstand and bounce back from these kinds of events.
        What can I do before a disaster happens?

        It makes sense to prepare for disasters just as you might for any major event. As a teenager you can:
        • Talk about disasters with your parents. Identify ways that you have responded to stressful events in the past that were useful.
        • Help your parents make a plan and prepare a disaster supplies kit. Decide how to stay in touch with them in an emergency situation. (Read the American Red Cross publication "Preparing for Disaster" for the details.)
        • Learn about your school's and town's preparedness plans. Contact your local emergency management agency.
        • Learn more about how you react to stress and ways to handle it.

        How might I react to a disaster?

        People react differently to things that are stressful, and nearly everyone is able to work through problems and pain. Most people recover (in weeks or months) from the following kinds of natural reactions to a terrible event:
        • Shock, numbness and disbelief.
        • Difficulty concentrating on school work, your job, friends, or family.
        • Eating too much or too little.
        • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Nightmares.
        • Thinking too much about what happened.
        • Being afraid for your safety and the safety of your family, friends, police, and firefighters.
        • Feeling sad about the people who were injured or died.
        • Having upsetting thoughts or pictures in your mind of what happened. They can pop into your head, or come when you're reminded of the painful event.
        • Anger, bad temper, and not trusting others. You might argue and get into fights.
        • Feeling guilty or helpless.
        • Feeling restless-kind of uneasy or worried.
        • Headaches, stomachaches, skin rashes, body pains. and more severe allergic reactions.

        If a disaster happens, what can I do to get through it okay?

        • It's a good idea to take care of yourself physically, especially when under increased stress, such as after a disaster. Drinking enough water, eating right, exercising, getting plenty of rest, and returning to a regular routine should help you feel better.
        • Most people find that it helps to talk about what happened and how it makes them feel. If you feel like talking, it's a good idea to find friends, family, or other people you trust who have lived through the same kinds of things and talk to them.
        • It also helps if you can find meaning in what has happened.
        • Pay attention to the useful ways that you handled things. (Atl: give yourself credit for the different ways that helped you to handle the situation.)

        How will I know if I need help to cope with what I'm feeling?

        It's possible to try these ways to feel better and still not be able to get back to your regular routine, or feel as good as you used to. You might want to see a counselor if—after several or more weeks—you:
        • Suffer so much or for so long you are not sure you can stand it.
        • Can't think clearly or do your school work.
        • Can't handle helping out in your family (like caring for brothers or sisters, or doing chores).
        • Are doing yourself injury or disease by:
          • Drinking or smoking more than you usually do
          • Using street drugs to help feel better or to escape your daily life.
          • Using too much or too little prescribed medication.
          • Speeding or driving carelessly
          • Threatening, hurting, or fighting people.

        • Are still have eating or sleeping problems, or are getting sick from stress.
        • Withdraw from other people, such as close friends or family.
        • Feel like hurting yourself or others.

        How would I get outside help?

        Asking for support may feel uncomfortable, but seeking the assistance you need can really help. You can start by talking to one or more of these people:
        • Your family doctor or health care provider.
        • A school counselor or teacher.
        • A pastoral care counselor.
        • A trained mental health professional.
        • Your community health center or the local mental health clinic.
        • Mental health groups (found on the Internet or in the phone book).

        What should I do if a disaster or terrorist attack occurs?

        If you are prepared, you may find it easier to take appropriate action, such as:
        • Stay informed and follow official instructions to protect yourself and your family.
        • Use the plan you and your family developed. Use those items that will help you distract yourself from the disaster while is it happening.
        • Find trusted, safe sources of information.
        • Limit how much TV and images you see of the disaster.
        • Remind yourself that feelings of upset will fade and disappear.
        • Be patient, especially with yourself. Find time to relax. Find a place to go where you feel safe so you can figure out how you're feeling and what you want to do.
        • Return to your regular routine (like school, sports, part-time job, etc.) as soon as possible.
        • Keep up your exercise and good health habits. Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of water.
        • Stay in touch with friends, family, church activities, neighbors, etc.
        • Talk about your thoughts and feelings with people you trust.
        • Spend time with family and people you like.
        • Ask for help when you need it.

        Check out these online resources

        For further information about how to cope with disasters and terrorism, visit the following:

        This information is provided by the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



        http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/mind/highschool/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: CDC - Maintain a Healthy State of Mind in a Disaster - May 18, 2011

          Adults


          In the current climate of tension around terrorist attacks and other disasters, people may often react to such events with increased stress, a sense of uneasiness, and a variety of behavior changes. Some people may change who they will talk to or trust. Others may change where they travel or how they spend money. Sometimes feelings of rage arise that can lead to violence. Reactions like these can upset a person, as well as family and community life. Being prepared is the best way to reduce the effects on people of catastrophic events, whether or not they are directly experienced.
          What can I do to prepare myself?

          You can do several things now to prepare for and be ready to respond to catastrophic events. These suggestions can benefit you and help you assist others.
          • Make a plan for yourself and those with whom you live. Prepare a disaster supplies kit. Read the American Red Cross publication "Preparing for Disaster" for more details.
          • Review your options so you have made decisions about what to do before something unexpected happens.
          • If you have children, read the section for parents and caregivers to learn how to help them prepare for and handle a disaster.
          • If you live alone, maintain social ties with coworkers, friends, and family members. Keep their contact information with your other disaster supplies and equipment.
          • Keep a spare pair of glasses and extra medicine handy in case you need to leave quickly.
          • Learn about preparedness plans in your town and workplace. Contact your local emergency management agency.
          • Know your neighbors and how to get in touch with them.
          • Keep important documents in a safe, accessible place in case you need to leave your home.
          • Learn more about stress—what it does, how you respond to it, and ways to deal with it. (See CDC's "Disaster Mental Health Resources.")

          Acts of terror can have an additional impact because they are:
          • Unexpected
            They seem random and often come without warning, which can make us feel unsafe;
          • Unfamiliar
            Most people have no experience of them. This can make us feel vulnerable;
          • Uncontrollable
            We are unable to manage or govern such events and acts.

          These aspects of terrorism can increase people's fear and stress. Preparation for such events is similar to other disasters; following the previous suggestions can increase your confidence for managing most situations.
          How will I react to an extreme event?

          People vary in how they respond to disasters. Knowing beforehand what common reactions may occur can improve your ability to cope when such event happen. Accept your own reactions and support those of people around you. Realize that different responses may occur at different times. You may have experienced some of the reactions below during other stressful times.
          Common reactions to extreme events include:
          • Shock, numbness and disbelief;
          • Difficulty concentrating at work or at home;
          • Eating too much or too little;
          • Smoking/drinking more than usual or misusing drugs;
          • Problems falling or staying asleep; having nightmares;
          • Recurring and unwanted thoughts about what happened;
          • Fear about your safety; the safety of your children, spouse, parents and pets; and about losing treasured possessions;
          • Grief
          • Upsetting images, thoughts and feelings about the event. This can happen suddenly or because something (such as an odor, sound or sight) reminds you of the event;
          • Anger, short temper and increased suspicion of others that may lead to more arguing or fighting;
          • Feeling guilty, ashamed or helpless;
          • Feeling restless, anxious, uneasy or worried;
          • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach and bowel problems and skin rashes. Chronic health problems can get worse;
          • Frequently changing and intense moods.
          • Inability to manage feelings.

          For most people, painful emotions, physical reactions and distressing thoughts are temporary; many reactions diminish within a few weeks after the disaster is over.
          If a catastrophic event occurs, how can I help myself and others?

          Immediately during or after a disaster, it is important to protect yourself from harm and additional exposure to the trauma. If directly involved, move away from continuing danger, destruction and dead bodies. Limit your exposure to media coverage of the event.
          In addition, you can:
          • Get your supplies kit and use your plan.
          • Take care of your immediate and ongoing physical needs.
          • Get exercise, rest, drink plenty of water and eat healthy meals whenever you can.
          • Return to your daily routines whenever and wherever possible.
          • Recognize people's strengths, including your own, as well as their suffering.
          • Share your experiences when you are ready to do so.
          • Spend time with other people.
          • Remind yourself of your strengths.
          • Reflect on how you have dealt with problems in the past.
          • Ask for help when you need it.
          • Remind yourself that in time, distressing feelings will fade.
          • Find opportunities to unwind.
          • Allow others to spend time by themselves. Spend time by yourself if that helps.
          • Mark the event in a symbolic way, such as a service or memorial, alone or with other people.

          How will I know if I need help?

          Experiencing a disaster can leave people feeling like life will never be the same. You may try lots of ways to feel better, yet still be unable to return to feeling comfortable. If things aren't going well after several weeks, you may want to seek professional help. Talk to a professional at any point in time if you feel that you are having difficulty with your recovery.
          You will know that you are on your way to recovery when:
          • Your suffering has lessened.
          • You are able to concentrate on work or family and do things you used to enjoy.
          • You are able to resume caring for your family and complete daily tasks.
          • You are engaging in reasonable and appropriate use of:
            • Alcohol or cigarettes
            • Recreational drugs
            • Prescribed medicines.
            • Cars and other vehicles

          • Your appetite and sleep patterns are not of concern
          • You are able to manage your anger and avoid fights
          • You are staying well instead of getting sick

          How do I get the help I need?

          Asking for support may sometimes feel uncomfortable; however seeking the assistance you need can help you cope better. Sources of assistance could include:
          • A health care provider.
          • A pastoral care counselor.
          • A mental health professional.
          • Your employer's Employee Assistance Plan (EAP), if they have one.
          • Your city health center.
          • The local mental health clinic.
          • Local hot lines.
          • Mental health specialty and advocacy groups.
          • Mental health associations.

          Online resources

          For more information about how to cope with terrorism, visit the following:

          For more information for parents, caregivers, and teachers, visit the following:

          For information about emergency preparedness and response, visit the following:
          • RAND, Individual Preparedness and Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks

          For information about how to create a family plan, visit the following:

          This information is provided by the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).





          http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/mind/adults/

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: CDC - Maintain a Healthy State of Mind in a Disaster - May 18, 2011

            Seniors
            Being mentally and emotionally prepared is the best way to reduce the effects of natural disaster or terrorism. Disaster disrupts our way of life and peace of mind. It can make us feel unsafe and afraid. This may increase feelings of mistrust and prejudice. You may find you react in different ways to stressful events. You may change who you will talk to or trust, or where you travel, or how you spend money. Sometimes feelings of hate towards others arise and lead to violence. This can destroy families and community life.
            Although seniors have great strength from life experience, planning ahead can help decrease the risk of harm in an emergency. Planning ahead includes asking yourself the following questions:
            • Do I tire easily?
            • Do I need help to see, hear, or walk?
            • Do I need to care for another person?
            • Do I take daily medication?

            Being mentally and emotionally prepared includes knowing:
            • What to expect.
            • When help is needed.
            • How to get help.

            What can I do to prepare myself now?

            We've proven time and again our ability to survive everything from the Great Depression to world wars and the threat of nuclear holocaust. We've lived through droughts, floods, and all sorts of other natural disasters. We've given birth, supported our families, and stood by our loved ones through personal and financial losses. We are proud, tough and resilient.
            — "Voices of Wisdom: Seniors Cope with Disasters" videotape, Project COPE, 1992


            There are several things you can do ahead of time, when things are calmer, to get ready to respond to the kinds of events that a natural disaster or an act of terrorism might trigger. For example, you could—
            • Make a plan with family or household members. Decide how to stay in touch if something goes wrong. Set up a meeting place .
            • Prepare a disaster supplies kit. Keep it in a safe, easy-to-find place.
            • Keep a spare pair of eye glasses and extra medicine handy in case you need to leave your home quickly.
            • Learn about preparedness plans in your town.
            • Know your neighbors and how to get in touch with them.
            • Keep important documents in a safe place with easy access in case you need to leave your home.
            • Review your options and decide what to do before an emergency happens.
            • Know how to get in contact with service agencies you may need, such as the Area Agencies on Aging and the American Red Cross.
            • Learn more about what stress does and how to deal with it.

            How might I react to an extreme event?

            People react differently to extreme events because everyone has a different set of past experiences. Memories and feelings you thought you had left behind may return. However, the strength of these reactions tends to disappear after a few weeks for most people. Common reactions include the following:
            • Shock, numbness, and disbelief.
            • Fear about personal safety, the safety of others, and pets.
            • Concern about losing treasured possessions.
            • Grief for those who died and for losses at earlier times in your life.
            • Upsetting images, thoughts, and feelings about the event. This can happen suddenly or because something reminds you of the event.
            • Anger, short temper, and increased wariness of others. This may include more arguing or fighting.
            • Feeling guilty or helpless.
            • Feeling restless, anxious, uneasy, or worried.
            • Physical reactions can include headaches and body pains, stomachaches, appetite changes, sleep difficulties, and increased allergic reactions. Chronic health problems can get worse.

            For most people, these reactions fade over time and eventually disappear.
            Why are acts of terrorism so troubling?

            Acts of terrorism can have such a major impact because they are
            • Unexpected.
              Because they seem random and often come without much warning, they can make us feel unsafe.
            • Unfamiliar.
              We have no experience with them. This can make us feel doubtful and insecure.
            • Uncontrollable.
              We feel unable to manage or govern such events and acts.

            If a disaster occurs, how can I best deal with it?

            Talking about what happened and sharing your feelings with others you trust or who have lived through similar events can be helpful. It also is important to take care of yourself physically. This includes eating properly, taking your regular medications, and getting a good night's rest. Get back into a normal routine as soon as you can. It helps if you can find meaning in what happened or how you handled things.
            • Use the disaster plan you made.
            • Find sources of information you can trust.
            • Stay informed and follow official directions to protect yourself and others.
            • Stay in touch with family, friends, and neighbors, if possible.
            • Spend time with family and loved ones.
            • Even though you need to stay informed, avoid repeatedly watching disturbing events. Watching TV or hearing radio replays of tragic events can increase anxiety and fear.
            • Remind yourself of your strengths and how well you have dealt with problems in the past.
            • Remind yourself that in time you will feel better.
            • Be patient with others and with yourself. Take time to relax. Find a quiet place where you can collect your thoughts and feelings.
            • Keep up your exercise and good health habits. Get plenty of rest.
            • Ask for help when you need it.

            How will I know if I need more help?

            You may try all these ways to feel better and still be unable to get back to your regular routines. You might need outside help if, after several weeks or so, you:
            • Still suffer greatly, longer than for other losses and events.
            • Cannot concentrate or do things you used to enjoy.
            • Are not able to resume normal roles with your family and friends.
            • Are:
              • Drinking or smoking too much.
              • Using an excessive amount of prescribed medicines.
              • Driving too fast or too slowly.
              • Fighting, hurting, or threatening others.

            • Are still having eating or sleeping problems.
            • Are getting physically sick.
            • Feel like hurting yourself or someone else.

            How do I get help?

            Asking for support may sometimes feel uncomfortable; however, seeking the assistance you need can help you cope better. Sources for assistance could include a:
            • Family doctor.
            • Pastoral care counselor.
            • Licensed counselor or other trained mental health provider.
            • Health care provider.
            • Local health center or mental health clinic.
            • Mental health specialty or advocacy groups.

            Online resources

            For more information about how to cope with natural disasters or terrorism, visit the following:

            This information is provided by the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).





            http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/mind/seniors/

            Comment

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