Disaster Distress Helpline
Text: “TalkWithUs” to 66746
If you or someone you know is struggling after a disaster, you are not alone.
Talk With Us!
“Things haven’t been the same since my shop was flooded …”
“Ever since the tornado, I haven’t been able to get a full night’s sleep …” “I can’t get the sounds of the gunshots out of my mind…”
• Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round • Free (standard data/text messaging rates may apply for the texting service) • Answered by trained crisis counselors.
The Helpline and Text Service are:
TTY for Deaf / Hard of Hearing: 1-800-846-8517
Spanish-speakers: Text “Hablanos” to 6674
Call us: 1-800-985-5990
Text: ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746
Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/ distresshelpline
Follow us on Twitter (@distressline): twitter.com/distressline
Disasters have the potential to cause emotional distress.
Some are more at risk than others:
• Survivors living or working in the impacted areas (youth & adults)
• Loved ones of victims
• First Responders, Rescue & Recovery Workers.
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common reactions after a disaster.
Warning signs of distress may include: • Sleeping too much or too little
• Stomachaches or headaches
• Anger, feeling edgy or lashing out at others
• Overwhelming sadness
• Worrying a lot of the time; feeling guilty but not sure why
• Feeling like you have to keep busy
• Lack of energy or always feeling tired
• Drinking alcohol, smoking or using tobacco more than usual; using illegal drugs
• Eating too much or too little
• Not connecting with others
• Feeling like you won’t ever be happy again.
TIPS FOR COPING WITH STRESS AFTER A DISASTER:
Take care of yourself. Try to eat healthy, avoid using alcohol and drugs, and get some exercise when you can- even a walk around the block can make a difference.
Reach out to friends and family. Talk to someone you trust about how you are doing.
Talk to your children. They may feel scared, angry, sad, worried, and confused. Let them know it’s okay to talk about what’s on their mind. Limit their watching of TV news reports about the disaster. Help children and teens maintain normal routines to the extent possible. Role model healthy coping.
Get enough ‘good’ sleep. Some people have trouble falling asleep after a disaster, others keep waking up during the night. If you have trouble sleeping:
• Only go to bed when you are ready to sleep
• Don’t watch TV or use your cell phone or laptop computer while you’re in bed
• Avoid eating (especially sugar) or drinking caffeine or alcohol at least one hour before going to bed
• If you wake up and can’t fall back to sleep, try writing in a journal or on a sheet of paper what’s on your mind.
Take care of pets or get outside into nature when it’s safe. Nature and animals can help us to feel better when we are down. See if you can volunteer at a local animal shelter- they may need help after a disaster. Once it’s safe to return to public parks or natural areas, find a quiet spot to sit in or go for a hike.
Know when to ask for help. Signs of stress can be normal, short-term reactions to any of life’s unexpected events- not only after surviving a disaster, but also after a death in the family, the loss of a job, or a breakup. It’s important to pay attention to what’s going on with you or with someone you care about, because what may seem like “everyday stress” can actually be:
• Depression (including having thoughts of suicide)
• Alcohol or Drug Abuse.
If you or someone you know may be depressed, suffering from overwhelming feelings of anxiety, or possibly abusing alcohol or drugs … Call 1-800-985-5990 or text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746. You Are Not Alone.