Mental health expert talks about coping with anxiety, stress after historic flooding

Mental health expert talks about coping with anxiety, stress after historic flooding

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Chances are you or someone you know was affected by the flooding in some way, and some are suffering more than others.

It's the silent suffering of what goes on in someone's mind that has mental health officials on alert following the flooding. The stress and anxiety of losing everything can affect people differently.

Dr. Lee Tynes with Our Lady of Lake Hospital knows what people are going through. Not only is he trained, but Tynes is also a Katrina survivor and lost his home 11 years ago.

Tynes said people will process the loss and stress that goes with it in different ways. He said its important to watch yourself and those around you.

Even as you watch the news to stay up to day on what to do next, sometimes you have to be careful seeing the images as the flooded homes can trigger certain things.

What should a person who is dealing with loss do at this point? 

"You have to take your own pulse," said Dr. Lee Tynes. "It's common particularly early on to have feelings of helplessness and a little despair. You tend to focus on logistics, can I get to work? Do I have a car? Where we going to sleep?"

When should I get help? 

"You have to kind of be your own judge," said Dr. Tynes. "Take your own pulse, is what I like to say about that. Talking with family and friends and clergy might be a way to gauge yourself as time moves on – Do I need to get help with this? Is my response over the top? The difference between sadness and depression has to do with functioning. If you are feeling down, feeling hopeless or helpless and that begins to interfere with your ability to function and move forward and take care of your family and do things that are necessary in the coming days- then that becomes more of a concern."

What are symptoms of a larger, more serious issue? 

"If you feel down but that never seems to leave and you begin to not enjoy anything," said Dr. Tynes. "If you have time with your family and you're not enjoying that and you always did. If you were feeling overwhelming hopelessness, overwhelming anxiety and anger that's manifesting itself in really non-productive ways with your family, it may be time to talk to those around and say do I need to seek out counseling?
The following are some helpful numbers if you need help or would like to talk with someone about getting help:

Capital Area Human Services - (225) 925-1906  
OLOL Center for Psychiatric Services - (225) 374-0400  
The Phone (Crisis Line) - (225) 924-3900

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