BLOG: Coping With Disaster Distress

Let’s face it…. Everyday, both nationally and locally, natural disaster and community unrest is inevitable. Together our prevention efforts have made great strides in reducing trauma and violence, yet incidents still occur which are out of our control. Whether it’s an outbreak of ebola or an incident of community violence, these things do happen and it’s important to recognize how these events affect us.

Recently, we discovered an excellent online resource specifically on this subject. SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) offers a unique Disaster Distress Helpline. SAMSHA tells us that stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after any natural or human-caused disaster. In response, it’s critical for those affected to know how to cope with these feelings. SAMSHA’s Disaster Distress Helpline offers this support. 

Disaster Distress Hotline
Call 1-800-985-5990. It’s Free. It’s Confidential..

Are you experiencing signs of distress as a result of a disaster?
Possible signs of distress include any of the following*:

  • 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
  • Rejecting of help.

SAMSHA’S Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, year-round crisis counseling and support. The Helpline is staffed by trained counselors from a network of crisis call centers located across the United States, all of whom provide crisis counseling, information on recognizing distress and its effect on others, tips for healthy coping, and referrals to local crisis call centers for additional care and support.

Plus… Download this helpful pdf from SAMSHA. Tips for Survivors: Coping With Grief After Community Violence