Staying Calm After Hurricane Sandy

November 7, 2012

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New Hampshire was extremely fortunate not to receive the full force of Hurricane Sandy; however, students here come from all over the country. If you happen to be from one of the hard hit areas, such as New Jersey or New York, do not hesitate to talk to a friend or a support system about it. Keeping one’s mental health as high as possible during a time of devastation can be very difficult, but reaching out to a friend or to family members back home can help your emotions stay elevated. Although you may not have been directly affected since you are away from home, take the opportunity to be someone’s support system that has to deal with wreckage.

According to Simon Rego, director, of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, "Sandy, like all natural disasters, is considered a criterion 'A1' stressor in the diagnoses of Acute Stress Disorder in the first month after the event and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), at least a month after the event."

Acute Stress Disorder can result in an individual losing emotional responsiveness and/or may have difficulty concentrating. To learn more about this disorder click out this article on PsychCentral. If you have noticed a friend displaying some of these symptoms try to talk to them about it if you feel comfortable or suggest that they get professional help. Not only is the stress of the storm detrimental to some students on campus, but this is also the time of the semester where work starts to pick up again.

It is possible to be distressed by this situation even if you didn’t experience the storm personally, but seeing images and hearing victims’ stories can be disturbing. It is important to make note that storms like Hurricane Sandy are rare and that not every storm will produce the same upset. To help distract yourself, try to get back into a regular schedule and do your best to stay busy. If you are away from home try to remain available to your family and see if there is anything you can do from a distance.

There are lots of places on campus you can seek help.  The Counseling Center, Health Services, your RA or Hall Director are good places to start!

The UNH community is very supporting and would love to reach out a helping hand to anyone who needs it. During this time of recovery be sure to take care of your own mental and physical wellbeing. Yoga, meditation and other relaxation methods may be very beneficial!

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