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Disaster Mental Health Public Health Seattle & King County.

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Presentation on theme: "Disaster Mental Health Public Health Seattle & King County."— Presentation transcript:

1 Disaster Mental Health Public Health Seattle & King County

2 Key Concepts of Disaster Mental Health: n Disaster stress and grief reactions are normal responses to an abnormal situation n Social support systems are crucial to recovery after a disaster n Most people pull together and function during and after a disaster but their effectiveness is diminished

3 Does a Person Have to be Directly Affected by an Event to Experience Stress Responses? n No, people can experience stress responses: –Witnessing a traumatic event (eye witness or television) –Learning of a family or friend’s traumatic experience

4 Factors Influencing Response to Traumatic Events: n Degree and nature of exposure n Developed coping mechanisms or strategies n Available resources and support n Ability to understand what has happened n Personal meaning of the event n Developmental level

5 Populations at Risk for Psychiatric Problems Following a Traumatic Stress n Those exposed to the dead and injured n The elderly or the very young n People with a history of previous exposure to traumatic events

6 Populations at Risk for Psychiatric Problems Following a Traumatic Stress Continued: n People with other major life stressors n People with poor support systems n Those with chronic medical or psychological disorders

7 What are Normal Responses to Traumatic Events?

8 Normal Reactions: n Profound sadness, grief and anger n Feelings of depression and anxiousness n Loss of interest in usual activities n Numbness or lack of feeling n Edginess, irritability n Trouble sleeping or concentrating

9 Behavioral Changes: n Change in appetite (more or less than usual) n Increased substance use n Interpersonal conflict

10 Physical Signs and Symptoms: n Fatigue n Muscle spasms or aches n Nausea, diarrhea, stomach aches n Headaches n High blood pressure n Shortness of breath, tightening in chest or throat n Sexual problems

11 Signs You or Your Co-Worker May Need Assistance Dealing with Stress: n You feel overwhelmed and unable to cope n Responses interfere significantly with your ability to function in daily activities n Symptoms worsen over a month or more

12 Signs You or Your Co-Worker May Need Assistance Dealing with Stress Continued: n You are experiencing several signs/symptoms at once or for days at a time n Abusive behavior towards self, (including drinking too much or thoughts of suicide), or others n Stress is making you physically sick

13 Individual Ways of Managing Stress: n Exercise n Eat well and avoid junk food, caffeine or alcohol n Get adequate sleep and rest

14 Individual Ways of Managing Stress Continued: n Meditate n Recharge your batteries by taking a bath, listening to music, reading etc. n Take time out for hobbies and other enjoyable activities n Maintain contact with social support system

15 Individual Ways of Managing Stress Continued: n Talk about your experiences and feelings with someone you trust n If television or other news sources make you feel worse then don’t watch or read them

16 Educate yourself on stress responses, ways to cope and when and where to get help: n Recognize early warning signs n Accept you may need help in assessing your level of stress n Use a buddy system where you monitor each other for stress

17 Organizational Ways to Lessen Stress During an Event: n Clear chain of command n Available supervisors n Shifts of no more than 12 hours n Regular briefing on what’s happening n Clear purpose and goals n Define roles by function

18 Develop a Management Plan for Stress: n Frequently assess worker’s functioning n Encourage breaks n Educate about signs of stress and coping strategies n Facilitate access to individual and group counseling

19 Available Resources for Public Health Staff: n Employee Assistance Program – s/mle.htm

20 Community Resources: n 24-hour Crisis Line: – (206) 461-3222, 1-866-4CRISIS n Community Information Line: – (M-F 8am-6pm): (206) 461-3200, 1-800- 621-INFO n Seattle Chapter of American Red Cross –(206) 323-2345, Web site: n Local churches

21 Web Resources: n sources.htm n

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