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As residents of Southwest Florida begin the difficult process of rebuilding their lives after Hurricane Ian, Tulane University experts who studied the long-term effects of the storms in New Orleans have one piece of advice: Don’t neglect your mental health.

Survivors can experience a range of emotions, from depression to anger, and it’s important that they tap into resources that can help them cope with their grief. While professional help may be needed, experts say they shouldn’t discount the help that comes from supportive friends and family.

“The recovery period begins a roller coaster ride of trials, leaving a trail of memories for our brain to process,” said Charles Figley, director of the Tulane Trauma Institute. “For some it can become too much, and the most important thing is to be with those who know and love you when an injury happens.”

Figley, an award-winning trauma psychologist and traumatologist, is the Dr. Paul Henry Kurtzweg Chair Emeritus and Professor in the Department of Disaster Mental Health and Social Work. He founded the Trauma Institute in 1996 at Florida State University in response to the Oklahoma City bombing a year earlier. He brought the institute to the Tulane School of Social Work in 2008, three years after Hurricane Katrina.

“The recovery process can take time and has ebbs and flows, so it’s really important to be kind to yourself,” said Reggie Ferreira, director of the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy, which is also at Tulane. social work. Among other things, the academy trains students to plan disaster-related stress and crisis management programs that promote resilience.

“The most important thing is to tap into your social support network and connect with resources available in the community to help with recovery,” he said. He recommended the Disaster Helpline, a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The hotline is open 24 hours a day to provide immediate crisis counseling for people experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or man-made disaster.

Ferreira has conducted several mental health studies, including one the relationship between catastrophizing and intimate partner violence. He said he is reviewing several studies on the impact of Hurricane Ida and COVID-19 intimate partner violence.

Addressing domestic violence should be part of a disaster recovery plan

Citation: What other storms can teach us about the looming mental health effects of Hurricane Ian (2022, October 7) Retrieved October 7, 2022, from mental-health-impacts. html

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