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Tragedy Expert Offers Evacuation Tips

FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Susan Weeks is available as an expert on the grief effects of the tragedies. Weeks, a nursing instructor with the TCU Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences, is a grief mental expert and long-time Red Cross volunteer. Weeks has been involved with mental grief volunteer support including the Katrina Hurricane, Oklahoma City bombings, 9- 11 World Trade Center tragedy, as well as other catastrophic events such as fires, shootings and aviation disasters.

"In addition to the physical preparation for a possible evacuation, it is important for individuals and families to address the emotional preparation. For example, as you prepare food to nourish the physical body, think about the items or rituals that will nourish the emotions. Favorite items, meaningful photos, or devotional books may serve as sustenance for weary emotions. As you think about seeking shelter for your family, also think about emotional shelter that might be needed. How might you provide adequate privacy, as well as adequate times of interaction? Thinking about ways to stay in touch with family members and friends during a time of displacement can provide needed connections. While thinking about medications that might be needed to treat a wounded body, also think about items that might be useful to address a wounded spirit. Taking favorite activities such as books and games will help divert the focus from the disaster.

Other ideas that may be useful for addressing emotional needs during a disaster include:

-- Structure your time as much as possible.

-- Develop a new routine in your new surroundings as soon as possible

(some will call this a "new normal ").

-- Keep talking to your support systems. Talking can be healing.

-- Reach out to others, even if they are also hurting.

-- Keep a journal as a way to express your feelings.

-- Try to keep your sleeping, eating, and exercise patterns as routine as


-- Don't be afraid to seek out and accept help when needed.

-- Don't label your feelings as abnormal. You are likely having a normal

reaction to an abnormal situation."

SOURCE Texas Christian University
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