Counseling for tornado survivors

By Alyssa Donovan

December 2, 2013 Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 8:22 PM CDT

When disaster strikes, the needs for physical help is evident and immediately offered in an outpouring of support, but many people need menta' and emotional support as well.

Many people affected by the tornadoes have spent the past two weeks finding personal items and cleaning up debris.

But now there's another challenge to overcome.

"Now the reality of what people have lost and the grief that they are going through and the stress of being displaced especially during the holidays is setting in,” said Dr. Jean Clore, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University Of College Of Medicine.

Those affected by the tornadoes may feel physically or mentally drained.
They may become more confrontational with family members and slip into depression.

"Many of the reactions they are having, they may feel like they are going crazy, but these are normal reactions anybody in that situation with that much devastation and loss would be going through the same feelings,” said Kathleen Coughlin of the Red Cross mental health team.

There are ways to help you mentally recover from the storm.

"As soon as you can get back to your normal routine it will help your mental health,” said Coughlin.

Eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep and spending time with friends and family will also help ease your mind.

You may feel overwhelmed with what needs to be done but the Red Cross advises you take it a little at a time.

"They can begin to look at step by step how to put everything back together and they don't have to do it all right away. A lot of times we say set up a little plan for yourself of things that you can do step by step with the most important stuff first,” said Coughlin.

Officials say that mental recovery may take some time but you need to be patient with yourself and your loved ones.