Mental Health: Emotional Preparedness

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It is important to consider emotional preparedness as part of your household emergency action plan. Disasters can impact everyone differently, but most people feel an element of disruption and stress. The high volume of information and concerns during a disaster can be overwhelming, and having a few emotional tools identified in advance will help you remain calm in this type of environment. When you take care of yourself first, you are able to support your family.

What does stress look like? If someone in your family is having on-going trouble coping with their emotions or is experiencing symptoms of stress, which could include, problems with sleep, separation anxiety, requiring consistent reassurance, increased substance use, shows less interest in their friends, does repetitive behaviours, such as excessive hand washing, contact your healthcare professional for help.

Make a Plan – To understand your and your loved one’s ability to be resilient before an emergency:

  • Think about how you/they cope with stress.
  • Identify what personal things make you/them feel better.
  • What healthy actions do you/they do to decompress after a stressful experience?
  • What do you/they do to recognize or support loved ones with similar feelings?

Emotional Preparedness during an Emergency:

  • Continue to get timely and accurate information from credible sources. Misinformation can be dangerous during an emergency.
  • Try and maintain your daily routine.
  • Focus on the positive and do something you enjoy.
  • Get rest, eat nutritional food, and drink plenty of water.
  • Recognize your own feelings. Be mindful, pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. This can help identify if you are feeling anxious or stressed. Identify actions that can help you feel calm.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Find different ways to stay connected with family if you are away from them.
  • Find comfort in your spiritual and personal beliefs.

Staying Connected – connections with others is critical to increase resilience after emergencies:

  • Identify who is in your or your family’s network.
  • Identify who you/they typically turn to when you/they are feeling stressed.
  • Who do you/they consider to be in your/their community?
  • Identify key contact lists for your household and how you will contact them.

For more information, visit: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/amh/page16759.aspx.