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How to provide emotional support to flood victims

It has been close to one month since Mother Nature reeked havoc on Southern Alberta and the affects are being felt now more than ever. The floods that struck our city caused not only physical damage to the infrastructure, but also emotional damage to the citizens of Calgary and surrounding areas.

Many people experienced feelings they have never felt before. With the proven link between flooding and mental health issues, people can be very vulnerable in times like this which makes it helpful to be aware of what you can do to support flood victims in need. 

The initial stages of a flood can evoke intense feelings of shock and distress; however, these feelings can last far beyond the first days of the disaster. It is important to recognize that everyone will have a different response in these types of situations and that each person processes crises in their own way.

If you are searching for ways to help someone in need there are many different things to do. It is important to remember that people need support not only during the flood but in the days following as this is the time when mental health issues can begin to develop.

Here are five tips to help provide emotional support to flood victims:

  1. Safety first: Take a moment to assess the situation and pay particular attention to any factors in the area that may compromise a person’s safety. Once you have established that the individual is safe you can assist them in contacting recovery agencies if they need.
  2. Ask questions: Check with the victim to see if their basic human needs are being met: food, water, shelter and medication. It is vital that they have access to these necessities of life and if they do not you need to be made aware of that.
  3. Establish communication: In times of emergency it is important that victims get in touch with their family, friends and loved ones. Help connect them to someone that provides them a sense of familiarity and stability.
  4. Be a good listener: One of the best ways to comfort someone in need is to be available to hear what they have to say. This is not a time to offer advice or opinions, this is an opportunity to let the individual express their feelings in a non-judgmental environment. You do not need to respond with words as people will be content with you just listening to them.
  5. Offer information: Provide assistance in moving forward and taking the next step. One of the most helpful tips can be directing people to seek professional guidance. Calgary Counselling is here to help people in this time of need.

Contact us at  www.calgarycounselling.com to register for counselling.

At Calgary Counselling Centre we have counsellors specifically trained in the area of grief and trauma counselling. We are here to help in tough times like this.

 

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