Take measures to fight stress in emergency
The Lower North Fork Fire in southwest Jefferson County has caused the evacuation of nearly 1,000 homes and anxiety for many. As a nonprofit community mental health center, we are working in close collaboration with the Red Cross and other agencies to provide support during this difficult time. A crisis situation like the recent fire can have an emotional impact. For many adults and children who have been displaced or experienced a loss due to the fire, as well as the thousands who have received pre-evacuation notices, there can be some normal responses to a difficult situation such as this, including
• Fear, uncertainty, apprehension, anxiety and worry
• Strong need for information, sometimes need for answers when they are not yet available
• Feeling irritable, tense, angry or resentful
• Trouble sleeping
• Feeling "scattered" and unable to focus; difficulty making decisions
• Depressed, crying
• Feeling powerless
We can help each other deal with the responses to this crisis:
• Reach out and talk to those who you trust and love for support — other family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, spiritual advisor.
• Explain the facts that you know about the situation to your child. Listen to your child, his/her fears and how he/she feels. Reassure your child often.
• Eat regular, nutritional meals — food low in fat, sodium and simple sugar. Your body uses up vitamin B, vitamin C and calcium during stress, so increase your foods or vitamins to replenish.
• Avoid excessive use of alcohol and caffeine — caffeine causes a stress response and it is not recommended when already under stress. Alcohol is a depressant and does not help you feel better.
• Remind yourself that the symptoms you or others are experiencing are ordinary reactions to an unordinary event. Realize that the stress response has a physical effect on you, and different people respond differently.
• Exercise and drink plenty of water. Get plenty of sleep.
• Simplify your plans. There is nothing more important right now than taking care of yourself and your loved ones.If you are concerned about your reaction or that of a family member, call Jefferson Center for Mental Health. Our emergency line is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, at 303-425-0300.
Public information officer
Jefferson Center for Mental Health
April 06, 2012