Tips for Handling the Emotional Impact of the Recent Overwhelming Tragedies

Wed, 10/04/2017

Our hearts go out to those who have been impacted by the unprecedented Hurricanes throughout the Leeward Islands, the Greater Antilles into the southern United Stated and in Texas.  This Hurricane season has brought much destruction and devastation to our friends and for some of us our families.  If that wasn’t enough, we are now dealing with the man-made tragedy in the Las Vegas shooting massacre that took place a few short days ago.  It is normal to be left with feelings of sadness, anxiety, fear, anger or any mix of these emotions.

The Jed Foundation has some recommendations that may be of help:

Don’t hold it in

It’s important not to hold it all in. Talk to a friend, family member or a counselor. You can always text 741-741 or call 800-273-TALK (8255) for 24/7, free, confidential support.

Turn it off

News of the tragedy and details of its impact come at us from every angle. Sometimes you need to flip off your tv, computer or phone, and focus on something else. When you do follow the news, stick to reliable sources and avoid rumors or speculation.

Get up and get out

Tragedies like these can weigh so heavily on us that it makes it hard to move. Whether you feel trapped where you live or find yourself pacing the floor waiting for an update from a friend or relative impacted by the event, it’s important to give yourself some activity and some distraction. If you can, the simple act of taking a walk, going to the gym, running some errands or playing a board game with friends can help us cope with tough feelings and feel better.

Look out for friends

If you notice a friend or family member is having a hard time dealing with news about a disaster, reach out and offer support. Look out for warning signs that they are feeling hopeless. It is natural for people near a tragedy to feel anxious and have some difficulty concentrating or sleeping for a while. These feelings should get better in a few days (or some weeks after things come back to normal for those directly impacted). If they are not improving, seek help for yourself or a friend.

Turn feelings into action

It’s so easy to be overcome with sadness, anger or anxiety after a disaster that causes pain for so many people. It’s healthy to express those feelings, but we can also choose to turn them into positive action.  Donating goods or volunteering can help you feel better and support the emotional health of others in your community. You can also make a donation or show your emotional support to those who have lost property or loved ones in the storms. If you do volunteer, remember to look out for yourself as well. Neglecting your own physical or emotional health could make things worse.

We are hoping for the best for all who have been impacted by these tragedies.  If you or someone you know needs help, consider contacting The Jed Foundation

Posted by: 
Mary Beth Del Balzo, CW President