Mental health experts offer coping tips for well-being after storms and other disasters


From left, Patrick Bordnick, dean of the Tulane Faculty of Social Work; Tonya Hansel, director of the Doctorate of Social Work program; and Reggie Ferreira, director of the Catastrophe Resilience Management Academy, say self-care is vital in coping with the psychological well being challenges of Hurricane Ida.


Loss, uncertainty and stress weigh closely on people who’ve been affected by disasters like named storms and wildfires. Combine these occasions with over a yr and a half of coping with a pandemic, and psychological well being issues are fully anticipated. Catastrophe psychological well being specialists from the Tulane College Faculty of Social Work supply explanations for what individuals are experiencing and the way they will greatest take care of their well-being within the aftermath.

“I’ve heard many individuals say, ‘I can’t deal with another factor,’” mentioned Tonya Hansel, director of Tulane’s Doctorate of Social Work program. “But, right here we’re coping with one other huge factor — hurricane restoration within the midst of a pandemic.”

Reggie Ferreira, director of the Catastrophe Resilience Management Academy, listed plenty of methods these occasions are robust on folks’s lives even with out COVID-19.

“We’ve skilled a shock on our system. What’s most vital is to be variety to your self and others. We’re all on this collectively.”

Reggie Ferreira, director of Tulane’s Catastrophe Resilience Management Academy

“Disasters carry unpredictability, and issues change in a short time. They disrupt our every day routines,” Ferreira mentioned. “Folks expertise loss — lack of neighborhood, private belongings and bodily surroundings. And, these occasions will be life-threatening, which creates further nervousness throughout and after the occasion.”

In these occasions of change, loss and nervousness, taking care of one’s psychological well being can appear daunting, however everybody can profit from making time for self-care, accessing assets and awaiting warning indicators that extra assist is required.

Make Time for Self-Care

After the preliminary hurricane response to make sure private security and primary wants, specializing in well-being and stress discount methods is important. “This doesn’t must be an enormous funding and shouldn’t add extra stress,” Hansel mentioned. “One thing so simple as permitting your self time for a cup of espresso, deep respiration or taking time for relaxation are all good methods to work self-care into your routine.”

Tulane’s Faculty of Social Work has a strong web site of curated self-care assets. Dean Patrick Bordnick’s self-care routine contains working and mindfulness. “Bodily exercise has been proven to cut back nervousness. So, taking half-hour for a brisk stroll, yoga, or any favourite train will be useful to your well-being,” Bordnick mentioned. “Practising mindfulness may also assist once you really feel overwhelmed. The concept right here is that it facilities you to the current and conscious of the second.”

Mindfulness is available in many kinds, together with guided meditation just like the weekly classes the college is offering for members of the Tulane neighborhood, or it may be a easy grounding train. “One instance of mindfulness is drawing consideration to the 5 senses and itemizing: 5 stuff you see, 4 stuff you really feel, three stuff you hear, two stuff you odor, and one factor you style,” Hansel mentioned. “This may also help quiet ideas and ‘what-ifs’ when it seems that we’ve fairly a bit extra of unpredictability.”

Ferreira agrees that self-care is a instrument for rising resilience. “After we are anxious or pressured, we are able to entry quite a lot of easy coping methods to assist us alleviate that,” he mentioned. “Getting again right into a routine, training gratitude, journaling, staying hydrated, limiting publicity to information and visuals of the occasion, and so many different small practices can add as much as well-being. We’ve skilled a shock on our system. What’s most vital is to be variety to your self and others. We’re all on this collectively.”

Entry Assets

Reaching out to assist or to ask for assist are additionally vital parts of catastrophe psychological well being. “A number of folks have skilled a number of disasters through the previous a long time, so we’ve classes realized from these occasions to fall again on,” Ferreira mentioned. “We all know that having sturdy private assist networks is useful. This may be household, pals, neighbors, colleagues and religious connections. Test-ins with others may also help scale back isolation and rebuild that misplaced sense of neighborhood.”

Some might discover that they’ve a need to assist in a catastrophe’s aftermath. As soon as private wants have been taken care of, donating time, items or cash not solely will increase the obtainable assets but additionally supplies a self-care exercise. Quite a lot of assets from federal, state and native governments in addition to nonprofit, faith-based and mutual help organizations can be found, and psychological health-related choices for Louisiana and past are listed beneath. 

Look ahead to Warning Indicators

Nobody ought to ignore any main misery they’re experiencing. “A specific amount of stress is critical throughout disasters. It helps hold us protected and conscious of our actions,” Hansel mentioned. “Nevertheless, if one will get to the purpose the place they can’t discover even momentary reduction from their nervousness or despair, then it’s a good signal to succeed in out to knowledgeable or hotline.”

Ferreira supplied further warning indicators that point out reaching out for skilled help ought to develop into a precedence. “Disrupted sleep, vital change in common habits, irritability, frustration, temper swings, forgetfulness, despair, guilt, fatigue, substance use, interpersonal violence, and speak of self-harm ought to all be taken critically,” he mentioned.

Listed below are assets for somebody in disaster:

•    Catastrophe Misery Helpline: 800-985-5990
•    Louisiana Spirit Counseling Line: 866-310-7977
•    Louisiana Disaster Textual content Line: Textual content REACHOUT to 741741
•    Metropolis of New Orleans Metropolitan Disaster Response Group: 504-826-2675
•    Jefferson Parish 24/7 disaster line: 504-832-5123.
•    Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
•    SAMHSA’s Nationwide Helpline for psychological and/or substance use issues: 800-662-HELP (4357)
•    Home Violence Nationwide Hotline: 800-799-7233
•    Trevor Challenge – LGBTQ Lifeline: 866-488-7386
•    RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)

And listed below are few different choices for native psychological well being assets:

•    For normal assets within the metropolis: Name 311 or go to
•    Metropolitan Human Companies District serves Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard parishes. Go to their web site: or name (504) 568-3130 for extra details about their companies.
•    Jefferson Parish Human Companies Authority serves Jefferson Parish. Go to their web site at or name (504) 349-8833 for extra details about their companies.
•    Louisiana substance abuse restoration by parish: page/1429

For members of the Tulane neighborhood:

•    College students: Counseling Middle 504-314-2277. And, for after-hours disaster assist, The Line is obtainable 24/7 to Tulane college students at (504) 264-6074.
•    School & Employees: New Instructions professionals at 800-624-5544, or go to the web site at, firm code: Tulane.