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Coping with a disaster

Apr 29 2015
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Disasters can strike anywhere or anytime, and profoundly affect the lives both of those who are involved and sometimes those who aren’t. Often, the mental wounds they inflict can be significant.

As a health insurer, Aetna helps people learn to cope with catastrophic events, from natural disasters to man-made ones, from events that affect a great many people to those that affect just a handful. Ensuring the physical health and safety of those affected is just as important as restoring their psychological health.

No matter the nature of the event, everyone deals with different things in different ways. For adults and children, alike, tragic events can cause significant anxiety and stress, and create a sense of worry and foreboding that can impact their lives long afterward. Overcoming that trauma and fear is essential to healing.

“If you have ever lived through a disaster, you know it can catch you off guard and leave you feeling overwhelmed,” said Peggy Wagner, head of clinical operations and of organization risk management services at Aetna Resources For Living. “Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of a disaster. Even individuals who experience a disaster ‘secondhand’ through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.”

Aetna Resources For Living offers crisis counseling and stress management assistance to Aetna members. The American Psychological Association also offers a number of good resources for the general public to help deal with the psychological trauma and stress. The following resources may also be helpful:

Taking care of your emotional health after a disaster

Open Up! Writing About Trauma Reduces Stress, Aids Immunity

Recovering emotionally from disaster

Recovering emotionally after a residential fire