Mental Health

The days and weeks after severe weather take a mental toll on all who are experiencing the storm and cleanup efforts. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) advises that in addition to your physical health, you need to take some time to consider your mental health as well. Your local health department can help you find the local resources or health care providers you may need.

Individual responses to a threatening or potentially-traumatic event may vary. Emotional reactions may include feelings of fear, grief and depression. Physical and behavioral responses might include nausea, dizziness and changes in appetite and sleep patterns, as well as withdrawal from daily activities. Responses to trauma can last for weeks to months before people start to feel normal again.

Seek medical care if you become injured, feel sick, or experience stress and anxiety.

There are many things you can do to cope with traumatic events:

  • Keep as many elements of your normal routine incorporated into the disaster plans as possible, including activities to allay children’s fears.
  • Be aware that you may have fewer resources to attend to your day-to-day conflicts, so it is best to resolve what you can ahead of time.
  • Turn to family, friends and social or religious contacts to set-up support networks to help deal with potential stressors.
  • Let your child know that it is okay to feel upset when something bad or scary happens.
  • Encourage your child to express feelings and thoughts, without making judgments.