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Psychologists Recommend Ways to Cope With National Tragedy

  • Subject: [cg] Psychologists Recommend Ways to Cope With National Tragedy
  • From: Laura Berman <laura@foodshare.net>
  • Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 14:21:43 -0400

I hope the following helps some of you. I've been having a hard time
focusing and getting back to "normal". I'm up here in Canada and it's hard
to get a handle on it all, and to know how everyone else, especially those
of us who are Americans, are feeling and coping. One thing I do know--turn
off the TV! Seeing it all endlessly repeated is not good for anyone.


Press Release: Psychologists Recommend Ways to Cope With National Tragedy

September 15, 2001

SOURCE: American Psychological Association

Shock, anxiety, anger and depression are some of the typical responses to
traumatic events, particularly an event of the magnitude of last week's
national disaster. The American Psychological Association (APA) provides
resources to help the public understand that these are normal responses to
abnormal events, and offers suggestions for coping with this crisis.

"Individuals who experience or witness -- even on television -- a traumatic
event often suffer psychological stress related to the incident," says Dr.
Russ Newman, J.D., Ph.D., Executive Director for Professional Practice at
APA. "A tragedy of this scale will have far reaching impact in our nation's
community's and schools. Individuals can reduce their immediate stress and
lessen long term consequences of the trauma by acknowledging their feelings
and taking steps to address them."

The APA's Web site includes an online brochure titled, "Managing Traumatic
Stress: Tips for Recovering from Disasters and Other Traumatic Events,"
available at http://www.helping.apa.org/therapy/traumaticstress.html
Warning signs of stress related to a traumatic event include: feelings of
fear and anxiety, a sense of aloneness and loss, depression and an inability
to face certain aspects that may bring back memories of other similar events
in a person's life.

"It is only when individuals feel that they cannot regain control of their
lives as a result of continuing reaction to the trauma that they may need to
seek outside help," Newman says.

Following are some coping strategies to help people through the crisis:

*    Identify the feelings that you may be experiencing. Understand that
your feelings are a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.
*    Accept the fact that things may be disorganized or chaotic for some
time -- you may feel overwhelmed or distracted -- take one task at a time,
one day at a time. 
*    Make efforts to maintain your usual routine.
*    Reach out to friends and family for support. It's OK to ask for help.
Don't isolate yourself. Structure your time and schedule breaks.
*    Make sure you get adequate food and rest. Your good health will help
you cope and get through this difficult time.
*    Combat negative thoughts. Realize that things will get better. Be
realistic about the time it takes to feel better.
For more information about coping with crisis or to find a psychologist in
your community contact the American Psychological Association for a free
"Talk to Someone Who Can Help" brochure or a referral to a psychologist in
your community at 1-800-964-2000 or visit http://www.helping.apa.org.

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