Mental Health Post-Disaster
With any natural disaster we consider the immediate needs of getting food and shelter. We must also remember mental health post-disaster impacts such as long-term risks of PTSD, anxiety, and depression. People who faced damage or completely lost their homes are clearly at risk, as are those who experienced fear before knowing the path of the storm, or those faced with difficult decisions about whether to evacuate and where to evacuate to. A Miami Herald opinion article written by the Florida Behavioral Health Association’s CEO Melanie Brown-Woofter outlines studies surrounding the impact of natural disasters on mental health and shares resources for seeking help.
As mental health professionals we should consider these mental health post-disaster risks. Even if our clients don’t immediately show signs and symptoms of mental health struggles we should assess for such signs and symptoms. We should also consider our own responses to the storm or to our clients sharing their experiences. Brown-Woofter’s article includes links to statewide and national resources for emergency mental health help.