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4 Tips for Dealing with Emotional Reactions to Hurricane Season

Aug 24, 2018 1:49:16 PM by Vaughn O'Neal, Director of Behavioral Health and HIV Services

 

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It doesn’t matter what the meteorologists call it—tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane; once they start telling us they’re watching a storm approaching the Gulf, anxieties and blood pressures may begin to rise. The Houston area has weathered its fair share of violent rain storms, and with hurricane season having officially begun on June 1st, and Harvey’s anniversary date quickly approaching, you may be getting jitters brought on by memories of last year’s record-breaking storm. Here are 4 tips for managing concerns about hurricane season.

  1. Know that whatever you’re feeling is normal.
    Living through a natural disaster is no different from any other event that threatens your survival. We’re well aware of the trauma that some combat veterans deal with, but getting through a hurricane can bring on the same emotions. Your heartrate may speed up each time we get heavy rain; going down certain streets may bring on sudden memories of the devastation you witnessed this time last year; you may have nightmares involving flooding; you may obsessively check weather reports at the slightest mention of a storm forming in the Atlantic ocean. These are normal reactions, all part of your body’s survival system.
  2. Talk with others about your concerns.
    You may have friends, family, and neighbors that are also nervously working their way through hurricane season. Connect with them and support each other. If your anxiety is interfering with life, consider seeking counseling with a professional who is trained in helping people deal with trauma. AccessHealth has counselors in Richmond and Brookshire. Call us to make an appointment!
  3. Create a hurricane preparedness plan.
    Harvey taught us that everyone who lives in this area should have a plan for dealing with heavy storms and flooding—regardless of whether they live in a high-risk flood zone.
    1. Do find out though if you live in a high-risk area.
    2. Create a hurricane kit with items you’ll need in the event you get flooded in.
    3. Know the evacuation routes for where you live.
    4. Create a list of emergency contacts, including your local emergency management office, FEMA, law enforcement, hospitals, rescue groups, etc.
    5. Create a family emergency plan and be sure all household members know the plan and their role.
  4. If a violent storm is in the forecast, shop early for needed groceries.
    During Harvey we experienced empty grocery stores all over the Houston area and even in cities 50 miles away! Go early to get your nonperishable foods, plenty of water, batteries, and other needed items.

Topics: Behavioral health, hurricane season, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Harvey Anniversary


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