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  • How to Cope with Catastrophe

    Published: 05/24/2013

    In light of the recent disasters that have taken place across the country, Angela Cantwell, RN-BC, Program Director/Nurse Manager of Einstein’s Crisis Response Center (CRC), offers these tips to help people cope with the uncertainties of life:

    - One of the most important things for people to remember during tragedies like the Oklahoma tornadoes or Boston Marathon bombings is that people CAN and DO recover. People need to rely on their natural support systems, like friends, families, church, and community. These support systems will help people find strength, resilency, and security, and the will to move forward and rebuild.

    - Do not try to ignore feelings of fear, sadness or anger. It’s natural to feel this way after such tragedies. Allow yourself time to grieve and process all that has been lost, but also keep in perspective what remains. Life will go on, even if we don’t necessarily feel “ready.”

    - It is important to process the event and take positive steps to rebuild. This may mean staying close to your loved ones, continuing with your daily routine (work, family, etc.), and finding positive outlets for stress (like getting enough sleep, exercising, socializing, or praying).

    - Limit your exposure to TV and media so you aren’t re-traumatized by the events.

    - Learn to recognize signs of stress that may need the attention of a professional. If you or a loved one starts to have difficulty sleeping, become withdrawn or depressed, have anxiety attacks, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, or have thoughts of wanting to harm yourself or others, it’s time to seek the help of a professional. Therapists and counselors are available through Belmont Behavioral Health. Call 1-800-220-HELP (4357) for information or a referral.

    - Einstein’s Crisis Response Center (CRC) is another option for help. It is one of five CRCs within the city open 24 hours a day/7 days a week to help if you’re having a psychiatric emergency.

    - Too many people suffer in silence. Seeking help if you can’t resolve your feelings or start to feel overwhelmed does not mean that you are weak or have flaws. Trauma can affect anyone, regardless of how strong you are physically or psychologically. Professionals can help teach you how to better cope with the stress of such an event.

    - The most important thing you can do when dealing with a loved one who has been affected by a tragedy is to just LISTEN. Don’t judge or make conclusions based on your life experiences. The trauma is THEIRS, and we should allow people the time to process things in their own way and in their own time.

    - It’s a good idea for all of us to focus on personal wellness every day, because as we have seen recently, life can turn on a dime. Take the time to learn techniques and strategies that will enable you to manage day-to-day stress. Yoga, deep breathing, meditation, eating right, getting enough rest, and exercising, are all ways we can get a jump on our stress.

  • Communications Team