Self-Care and Self-Help Following Disasters
A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet
The emotional effects of the recent terrorist attacks will be felt by people everywhere: victims, bereaved family members, friends, rescue workers, emergency medical and mental health care providers, witnesses to the event, volunteers, members of the media, and members of the community, the country, and the world. Those who were at the scene or have lost loved ones will have strong reactions, and people who saw or heard about the attacks on T.V. may also be very upset.
Common reactions to traumatic events like this include feeling afraid, sad, horrified, helpless, angry, overwhelmed, confused, distracted, emotionally numb, or disoriented. People may also be bothered by nightmares or upsetting thoughts and pictures that come to mind. Young children may be upset, distracted, or out of sorts. These are normal reactions to very stressful events. With the help of family and friends, most people gradually feel better as time goes by.
Things you can do to cope:
When to seek more help: Sometimes people need extra help to get over a traumatic event. People directly affected by this tragedy, young children, people whove been through other traumatic events, and people with emotional problems are more likely to need to professional help. A person may need extra help coping if a month after the attack he or she:
For veterans: VA medical centers and Vet Centers provide mental health services for veterans that can be paid for by health insurance or provided at low or no cost, according to a veterans ability to pay. VA medical centers and Vet Centers are listed in the phone book in the blue Government pages. Under "United States Government Offices" look in the section for Veterans Affairs, Dept of. In that section, look for VA Medical Centers and Clinics listed under Medical Care and for Vet Centers - Counseling and Guidance and call the one nearest to where you live. On the Internet, go to www.va.gov and look for the VHA Facilities Locator link under Health Benefits and Services or go to www.va.gov/station/VetCenter
For non-veterans: Some local mental health services are listed in the phone book in the blue Government pages. In the "County Government Offices" section for the county where you live, look for a Health Services (Dept. of) or Department of Health Services section. In that section, look for listings under Mental Health. In the yellow pages, services and mental health professionals are listed under "counseling," "psychologists," "social workers," "psychotherapists," social and human services," or "mental health." Health insurance may pay for mental health services and some are available at low cost according to your ability to pay.
For anyone: Call your doctors office or ask friends if they know of any mental health providers who they recommend.
If you work for a large company or organization, call the Human Resources or Personnel office to find out if they provide mental health services or make referrals.
If you are a member of an Health Maintenance
Organization (HMO), call to find out if mental health services