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Physical Impacts, Mental Health and Community Well-Being in the wake of Hurricane Dorian

In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, there are potential physical health effects, mental health effects and effects to community well being, of the citizens of the islands of Abaco & Grand Bahama and all of those people displaced to the islands of New Providence & Eleuthera, who have been impacted by this meteorological disaster (category 5 hurricane)






A. Mental Health Effects include:


Acute Effects:

Depression, Stress and anxiety

Insomnia

Strains on social relationships

Complicated Grief

Substance Abuse (alcohol; nicotine products; cannabis)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Loss of Personal Identity

Helplessness and Fatalism


Chronic Effects:

Aggression

Violence & Crime

Suicide

Migrations/Effects of Displaced people


Eco-anxiety-: defined as stress and unrelenting despair caused by watching the slow and irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold and worrying about the future for oneself, children and later generations


Solastalgia: as climate change unfolds and causes irrevocable impacts, its the feeling that people experience, that they are losing a place that is important to them



B. Physical Health Effects:

Injuries/fatalities

Vector-borne disease

Heat Stroke

Asthma

Allergies

Reduced Fitness

Malnutrition


C. Community Health Impacts

Increased personal aggression

Disrupted sense of belonging

Loss of community cohesion

Increased violence and crime

Social instability



Tips To Support Individuals:


  1. Forster Optimism in the survivors

  2. Cultivate active coping and self-regulation in the survivors

  3. Maintain connection's to one's culture

  4. Find a source of personal meaning

  5. Encourage connection to church, parents, family and other role models

  6. Boost personal preparedness

  7. Support Social Networks

  8. Encourage persons to access medical services on the impacted islands; or in New Providence if medically unstable

  9. Encourage persons to access Mental Health Services if they are experiencing Acute Stress Disorder/PTSD symptoms; complex grief; major depression; Intensifying anxiety symptoms; suicidal behaviour



Tips to Support Communities


  1. Provide clear and frequent information

  2. Pay special attention to vulnerable populations i.e. children, elderly, disabled, handicapped, people with mental disorders; people who have loss loved ones in the disaster

  3. Engage community members

  4. Engage Mental Health Services; assess the mental health infrastructure on the affected islands

  5. Increase cooperation and social cohesion in the communities impacted

  6. Provide opportunities for meaningful action

  7. Facilitate community cohesion through community design




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