We are again open at Independence Inc. Disasters as we are living through affect all of us in different ways. We want you to know that we are here to help or if you just want to talk. Please call us at 701-839-4724. We now are trying our best to get any information out that may help you. In order to do this we will be sending out The People’s Voice “Flood Edition” to help keep you informed. Mental health and the flood
Dr. Mark DoernerCan the recent flooding affect my mood?
Flinging sandbags, moving furniture and other flood fighting measures clearly affect a person physically, but flooding and other natural disasters can take an emotional toll as well.
The stress that is part of responding to a difficult situation can produce symptoms such as changes in appetite, trouble sleeping, fatigue, irritability, apathy, anxiety or depression. Children may also exhibit behavioral and emotional changes and can become “clingy,” have problems going to sleep and worry more about the safety of loved ones. Some children may become quiet and withdrawn, and others may act out in response to the enduring tension and the disruption of familiar routines.
All these reactions are a normal response to an abnormal situation, and how a person responds to stress is an individual matter.How can I cope with the added stress?
Remember three R’s: Rest, routine and relationships.
Rest extends beyond getting a good night’s sleep. It includes exercise (not related to flood efforts) and proper nutrition.
Routine provides a sense of normalcy and is especially important for children. Keep doing as many normal activities as possible.
Relationships keep people connected and provide an avenue to share feelings and experiences. Accept help others offer while doing what you can to help others.When should I seek additional help?
The psychological effects of disasters can linger for weeks after the event is over, but people should seek help from a doctor or mental health professional if symptoms become debilitating or life-threatening, if symptoms persist at a high level for a month or longer after the disaster or if symptoms grow progressively worse.Where can I learn more information?
Visit www.redriverresilience.com, a website inspired by the past flood emergencies in the Red River Valley.
(Dr. Mark Doerner is a clinical psychologist at Medcenter One Mental Health Center.)