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How to Mentally Prepare For and Cope With Disasters and Emergencies

By HERWriter
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preparing for and coping with disasters and emergencies Andy Dean Photography/PhotoSpin

It might not be such a coincidence that Get Ready Day and National Preparedness Month both fall in September.

There have been a few natural disasters recently, including Hurricane Isaac and droughts in several regions.

Just in time for these natural disasters, information is available through these awareness events on how to get prepared for any worst-case scenarios.

This preparedness process includes emotional preparation, as well as coping with any emotions during and after emergencies.

For Get Ready Day on Sept. 18, 2012, the American Public Health Association provides fact sheets through its website to help every type of person get ready for any type of disaster or emergency.

One fact sheet provides information on how disasters impact mental health. According to the fact sheet, preparing for disasters can help promote good emotional health and allow for better coping and recovery from a disaster.

The website discusses some mental health symptoms people can experience after a disaster, and provides ways people can prepare for different disasters, and tips for recovering from disasters.

For National Preparedness Month, people are encouraged to visit the website www.ready.gov which is sponsored by FEMA and DHS.

The Ready campaign website provides information about how to prepare for various disasters, and includes a section about coping with different disasters and stress related to disasters.

It’s suggested that you become familiar with what disasters are more likely to happen in your area, and prepare accordingly.

Ramani Durvasula, a licensed clinical psychologist, gives her own suggestions for how to get prepared for a disaster without becoming over-stressed.

“Preparing for natural disasters can definitely incite feelings of anxiety in people with a propensity to anxiety - e.g. those with anxiety disorders, history of trauma or post-traumatic stress symptoms, or can also be associated with hopelessness and helplessness,” Durvasula said in an email.

“And this can certainly contribute to a sense of ‘denial’ or apathy or avoidance in the face of disaster preparation (remember - anxiety is all about avoidance).”

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.