Showing posts with label disaster counseling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disaster counseling. Show all posts

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How to Start Over after a Disaster - When You Have Lost Everything

I remember hearing a few years ago that one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy were the barrier islands off the coast of New Jersey.  Many of the homes on these islands were completely wiped out. At the time, CBS reported that the situation was especially difficult for these residents because a substantial number of them were retirees in their 60's, 70's and 80's.  Starting over is going to take a long time, and many of these people are understandably overwhelmed by all that they have lost.

Every year, thousands of other people lose their homes and property to fires, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters.

While there is no easy way to come to grips with this kind of devastation, especially when it happens to us, there are steps that people can take to help them through these difficult times.

How to Deal with Starting Over

Here are some actions that people can take to get through these trying times:

1.  Get help.  Many of us have grown accustomed to handling everything ourselves.  We are reluctant to accept help, even when it is available.  This is one of those times when we need to accept help.  Be grateful for any assistance that is offered to you, whether it is a place to stay, replacement clothing, or a friend who helps you try to salvage whatever you can from the ruins of your home.  The American Red Cross has a long history of providing assistance to people who need short-term emergency assistance.

2.  Deal with the business of starting over.  Talk to your insurance agent and FEMA representatives as soon as possible.  Gather all the information you can, and make the necessary decisions once you understand your options. Sometimes we simply want to freeze in place.  However, it is better for us emotionally as well as financially if we take action as soon as we are physically and mentally capable of making reasonable decisions.

3.  Seek out counseling.  If you have been through a disaster like Hurricane Sandy, you may be experiencing shock or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and not realize it.  Whether you seek counseling from your church, a private therapist or decide to join a group therapy program, you will find it helpful to talk about what you have been through.  Share your circumstances with others, and let them share theirs with you.  You will both find that you feel better afterwards.

4.  If your sadness does overwhelm you and you feel crushed and hopeless, see your physician. He may be able to prescribe something that will help you regain your equilibrium so that you are able to move forward.

Minimizing Your Losses

If you are in a situation in which you are being asked to evacuate, you can minimize your feelings of loss and confusion afterwards if you have taken along the right documents and belonging when you evacuate.  In addition to changes of clothing and enough supplies to last a few days, you should also take your valuables and important documents whenever you evacuate.  For a complete list of what you will need, read:

Personal and Financial Protection When Evacuating

Another issue you may face after a disaster is the need to replace your automobile.  Unfortunately, many of the cars that are in floods each year will not be junked; instead, they will be sold to unsuspecting consumers.  Be sure you research the background on any used car you purchase.  Have it inspected.  If you are thinking of purchasing a car that is advertised online, you may also want to read:

You Can Avoid Online Used Car Scams

Finally, when you begin to rebuild your home, you do not want to be victimized again by dishonest people who pretend to be helpful contractors.  In your hurry to get your home rebuilt, criminals known as "storm-chasers" may offer to help you.  All too often this has devastating results.  Before you hire a contractor, read:

Post-Disaster Contractor Fraud

The three articles mentioned above will help you get through this difficult time.  If you have been the victim of a disaster, please feel free to leave comments and let our readers know if you have other suggestions that will make things easier for disaster victims.

You are reading from the blog:

The helpful articles mentioned above are from the blog:

Photo of hurricane destruction is courtesy of