Psychologist Dr. Dan Dodgen, director, Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health and Community Resilience at Department of Health and Human Services, says if you feel stressed after a disaster, you can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990. It's Free. It's Confidential. It's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Dodgen says.
Signs of distress may include any of the following physical and emotional reactions:
-- Sleeping too much or too little.
-- Stomachaches or headaches.
-- Anger, feeling edgy or lashing out at others.
-- Overwhelming sadness.
-- Worrying a lot of the time; feeling guilty but not sure why.
-- Feeling like you have to keep busy.
-- Lack of energy or always feeling tired.
-- Drinking alcohol, smoking or using tobacco more than usual; using illegal drugs.
-- Eating too much or too little.
-- Not connecting with others.
-- Feeling like you won't ever be happy again.
-- Rejecting of help.
"You should monitor media, but remember that it can create added stress and pressures," Dodgen says.
The Helpline is staffed by trained counselors from a network of crisis call centers located across the United States, all of whom provide:
-- Crisis counseling for those who are in emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.
-- Information on how to recognize distress and its effects on individuals and families.
-- Tips for healthy coping.
-- Referrals to local crisis call centers or 2-1-1 call centers for additional follow-up care & support.