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DBHDD offers helpful tips to Georgia flood victims

DBHDD offers helpful tips to Georgia flood victims

October 19, 2009

ATLANTA – As the flood waters subside in Georgia, it’s common for people dealing with the aftermath to experience emotional distress. Some people may feel anxious, angry, tired alone or suffer from sleep anxiety. It may take a little time for these feelings to go away and sometimes reactions to disasters are delayed.

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities would like to offer some suggestions on ways to ease stress:

  • Don’t hold yourself responsible for your situation
  • Talk with someone about your feelings (anger, sorrow, other emotions) even though it may be difficult
  • Take steps to promote your physical and emotional healing through healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation
  • Establish a daily routine as soon as possible
  • Try to connect with community programs and supports

Children may deal with the after effects of the flood in many different ways. Some have reactions very soon after the event; others may seem to be doing fine, and then begin to show troublesome behavior after several weeks or months. Knowing common signs can help you recognize problems and respond appropriately. Some signs of stress in children are sadness or crying, unexplainable aches and pains, resuming younger behavior (bed wetting and thumb sucking), loss of trust in adults and fear of strangers, changes in behavior (from outgoing to shy and quiet and well-behaved to noisy and aggressive).

Here are some ways to help children cope:

  • Provide children with the opportunity talk about everything that’s happened
  • Establish a routine as soon as possible
  • Answer questions honestly and at a level children can understand
  • Encourage children to express their concerns through play and other creative means
  • Be aware of children’s exposure to images in the media

For more information, visit the DBHDD disaster mental health web site at www.georgiadisaster.info.

Contact Information: 
Kristie Swink (knswink@dbhdd.ga.gov)