How will you cope? Authorities and mental health professionals offer these tips.
There is the rush to prepare, the nervous anticipation, the unsettling period during the storm, the loss of property, scavenging gas, or just living without power for a few days.
A hurricane experience can be incredibly stressful. In the weeks after Hurricane Wilma in 2005, nearly 1,000 people called a state mental-health hot line looking for help with problems such as depression and anxiety.
BEFORE THE STORM
Prepare early to avoid the stress of panic buying.
Storms are unpredictable, and their twists and turns can be maddening. Just prepare as if the storm will hit, and hope it doesn’t. Stay up on media reports and follow the instructions of local authorities so you’re not blindsided by developments.
Don’t go into denial. Don’t have a wild party. Storms are serious business.
If you live alone, plan to ride out the storm with friends or relatives, or consider volunteering at a shelter.
Try to exercise to burn off the nerves.
Now is the time to have a plan for how you will survive and recover after the storm so you aren’t overwhelmed by the task ahead.
Take the time now to get to know your neighbors. Share ideas about how you as a neighborhood will work together after the storm. Find out who has special physical or medical needs, who might need help preparing their house, and who might need assistance following the storm.
If you have a homeowners’ group, consider developing a plan or even holding neighborhood meetings in advance of the season. Consider following “Crimewatch” models.
Find out who might be out of town so you that can keep an eye on their place.