Experts urge taking care of your mental health during flood cleanup and recovery process

Experts urge taking care of your mental health during flood cleanup and recovery process

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The process of recovering from the flood can be described as a marathon, not a sprint.

Rebuilding your home can be overwhelming, all-consuming and exhausting.

That's why mental health experts urge flood victims to take care of themselves, physically and mentally, throughout the process. Many people are spending a full day at work, then going to work on their homes.

Dr. James Hussey, assistant secretary and medical director of the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health, said it is important to address any symptom that may occur.

"People have really experienced a lot of destruction and stress as a result of the flood," Hussey said. "They've lost their homes. In some cases, possessions. They have been separated from work and school. (They've lost) their usual social routines and all of these things can be quite stressful and cause symptoms like depression and anxiety. People can become irritable and have problems with sleep, insomnia. Their appetites can suffer. They can have problems with concentration. They can have problems with focusing, activities like work and forgetfulness."

Kids and adults can respond differently, but he said even if children don't fully understand what is happening, they can take cues from adults and mimic their behavior.

Children and teens can also act out and become irritable. That's why it's very important to acknowledge these issues.

For adults, there are a couple of things to alleviate stress. Try taking a walk, make time for your family and friends, and talk about what you're going through. If you have a physical routine, it's good to try to get back into it.

For kids going through the recovery process, give them the space and opportunity to listen to what they are experiencing. Share your thoughts and experiences with them, too.

Hussey said connecting with people is very important in surviving and moving forward.

The state has a number of resources for flood victims to take advantage of to cope with stress, including the Louisiana Spirit Crisis Counseling hotline. The phone number is 866-310-7977.

For more information, click HERE.

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