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Coping in The Aftermath of The Storm


Phases of Disaster



After a Disaster Event


Following a disaster event, it can be helpful to know what to do and how to respond in order to best care for yourself and your loved ones and to support your community. Take care of yourself ensuring that your basic needs are met, before assisting others.


Of significance, sleep when you are tired. Eat when you are hungry. Hydrate with clean drinking water every hour. Encourage others in the community or in the protected shelter, to do the same.


Avoid increasing alcohol or tobacco use; these will ultimately increase stress and can increase your health risks.


Of note, talk with friends, family or colleagues when you are ready, who have gone through a similar experience as you; sharing can be helpful for people to double check negative and potentially harmful perceptions of how things occurred, as well as learn how others are coping. However, do it on your terms. Listen to people’s concerns without passing judgement (empathic listening).


Avoid telling people how they should feel or making comments that could be experienced as dismissive, such as “everything happens for a reason.”


Helping Children and Adolescents


Young children have unique needs after crisis and emergency situations or when coping with worry about major issues, such as climate change. Children and adolescents may respond in different ways than adults. Understanding common reactions allows you to better help kids before, during and after crisis events.


Talk openly with them about their fears of danger, before, during or after an event. Do not minimize the danger, but talk about your ability to cope with tragedy and get through the ordeal.

Remind children there are people that are working hard to keep them safe.


Anticipate a variety of reactions to fear, including: anger, misbehavior, withdrawal, regression in toileting behavior and other life routines. Avoid punishing children for these common reactions as this may make the behaviors worse. Talk with friends, family or colleagues who have gone through the same experience; sharing can be helpful for people to double check negative and potentially harmful perceptions of how things occurred, as well as learn how others are coping.

Listen to people’s concerns.


Avoid telling people how they should feel or making comments that could be experienced as dismissive, such as “everything happens for a reason.”


Helping Children and Adolescents


Children have unique needs after crisis and emergency situations or when coping with worry about major issues, such as hurricanes.


Children and adolescents may respond in different ways than adults. Understanding common reactions allows you to better help kids before, during and after crisis events. Talk openly with them about their fears of danger, before, during or after an event.


Of significance, don’t minimize the danger, but talk about your ability to cope with tragedy and get through the ordeal. Remind children there are people that are working hard to keep them safe.


Anticipate a variety of reactions to fear, including: anger, misbehavior, withdrawal, regression in toileting behavior and other life routines. Of note, avoid punishing children for these common reactions as this may make the behaviors worse



Community Tips to foster Community Cohesion


The Bahamas is currently in the "Honeymoon" phase, post the meteorological disaster, of the category 5 -Hurricane Dorian.


Affected communities should provide clear and frequent information


Engage community members


Increase cooperation and social cohesion


Provide a fast response


Provide opportunities for meaningful action


Pay close attention to vulnerable groups i.e. elderly, children & adolescents; persons suffering with mental disorders; handicapped


Ensure equitable and transparent distributions of resources


Additionally, communities should embrace mental health care services (assessments of the visiting mental health teams; facilitate referrals to mental health teams in New Providence)


Communities ought to cultivate social cohesion by bringing people together to discuss and deliberate. People in the affected communities can forge closer social bonds, improve their intercommunication and come to an agreement that residents will work together when needed. Community planners can also devise ways to provide resources to existing social networks such as churches and other civic groups. Community engagement during a disaster has further benefits. For one thing it expands the reach of efforts to help those suffering. As the number of community members involved in helping during a crisis increases, the number of people helped also grows.


The people doing the helping may benefit even more than those receiving the aid. A well known finding in psychology is that one's own well being increases through helping others. Research in trauma-impacted communities has confirmed that this effect holds through during personally difficult times. For example, families experiencing trauma report that helping others increased their own ability to cope.






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