Stress Levels Rise with Flood Waters IDPH offers tips for coping with stressful events

News

June 8th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

As preparations and response to flooding in Western Iowa continue, IDPH reminds
residents that it is normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed. "Whether dealing
directly with flooding, helping others, or simply watching events unfold on
television, the images and events of the past few weeks have been stressful for
many," said Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Mariannette
Miller-Meeks. IDPH reminds Iowans that it is normal to feel emotional during such
times - responses include fear, grief and depression. There are many things you can
do to help cope with stressful events:

*         Understand and accept that your feelings are normal.

*         Try to keep to your usual routine as much as possible.

*         Take time to resolve day-to-day issues, so they do not add to your stress.

*         Find ways to relax and be kind to yourself.

*         Find time for leisure and recreational activities.

*         Recognize that you cannot control everything.

*         Turn to family, friends or clergy for support, and talk about your
experiences and feelings with them.

Children are especially vulnerable to stressful situations, especially if their
parents or caregivers are overwhelmed. You can help your child by:

*         Letting your child know that it is okay to feel upset when something bad
or scary happens.

*         Encourage your child to express feelings and thoughts, without making
judgments.

*         Return your child to daily routines.

Sometimes stress can affect your relationship with your family and friends, or
affect your job. If you or someone you care about is having a difficult time
handling stress, or if their response escalates to substance abuse, depression or
suicidal feelings or thoughts, they should seek professional help from a health care
provider, local mental health clinic, or substance abuse treatment program.

For more information on flood-related health issues, visit
www.idph.state.ia.us/EmergencyResponse/Flooding.aspx<http://www.idph.state.ia.us/EmergencyResponse/Flooding.aspx>.