Mental Health America Establishes Fund to Help Support the Long Term Mental
Health Needs of Those Affected by the San Diego County Wildfires
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the hundreds of thousands San Diegans flee the flames; they're trying to make sense of what happened and deal with the stress of the situation. These wildfires have created a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for those directly and indirectly affected. In the days, weeks and months to come, many will need the support of a licensed mental health provider. For those who are uninsured, receiving the ongoing care needed will be difficult.
The San Diego Wildfire Mental Health Relief Fund will assist uninsured residents directly or indirectly affected by the wildfires access mental health services. MHA will provide assistance in connecting families and individuals to mental health services, based on need.
Coping with the Stress of Natural Disasters
In the days, weeks and months following the disaster, residents may begin to have some of these common reactions:
-- Disbelief and shock
-- Fear and anxiety about the future
-- Disorientation; difficulty making decisions or concentrating
-- Apathy and emotional numbing
-- Nightmares and reoccurring thoughts about the event
-- Irritability and anger
-- Sadness and depression
-- Feeling powerless
-- Changes in eating patterns; loss of appetite or overeating
-- Crying for "no apparent reason"
-- Headaches, back pains and stomach problems
-- Difficulty sleeping or falling asleep
-- Increased use of alcohol and drugs
Tips for Coping
It is 'normal' to have difficulty managing your feelings after major traumatic events. However, if you don't deal with the stress, it can be harmful to your mental and physical health. Here are some tips for coping in these difficult times:
-- Talk about it. By talking with others about the event, you can relieve
stress and realize that others share your feelings.
-- Spend time with friends and family. They can help you through this
tough time. If your family lives outside the area, stay in touch by
phone. If you have any children, encourage them to share their concerns
and feelings about the disaster with you.
-- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and exercise, and eat
properly. If you smoke or drink coffee, try to limit your intake, since
nicotine and caffeine can also add to your stress.
-- Limit exposure to images of the disaster. Watching or reading news
about the event over and over again will only increase your stress.
-- Find time for activities you enjoy. Read a book, go for a walk, catch a
movie or do something else you find enjoyable. These healthy activities
can help you get your mind off the disaster and keep the stress in
-- Take one thing at a time. For people under stress, an ordinary workload
can sometimes seem unbearable. Pick one urgent task and work on it.
Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. "Checking off"
tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things feel less
-- Do something positive. Give blood, prepare "care packages" for people
who have lost relatives or their homes or jobs, or volunteer in a
rebuilding effort. Helping other people can give you a sense of purpose
in a situation that feels 'out of your control.'
-- Avoid drugs and excessive drinking. Drugs and alcohol may temporarily
seem to remove stress, but in the long run they generally create
additional problems that compound the stress you were already feeling.
-- Ask for help when you need it. If your feelings do not go away or are
so intense that they interfere with your ability to function in daily
life, talk with a trusted relative, friend, doctor or spiritual advisor
about getting help. Make an appointment with a mental health
professional to discuss how well you are coping with the recent events.
You could also join a support group. Don't try to cope alone. Asking
for help is not a sign of weakness.
Access and Crisis Line: 800-479-3339
2-1-1 San Diego: 211
Mental Health America: 619-543-0412
NAMI: 619-543-1434 or 800-523-5933
Mental Health America of San Diego County (legally Mental Health Association in San Diego County) is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. Since 1942, has been dedicated to providing mental health, preventing mental disorders and achieving victory over mental illness through advocacy, education, research and service. To learn more about MHASD, the public can visit http://www.mhasd.org or call 619-543-0412.
|SOURCE Mental Health America of San Diego County|
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