Earthquakes and your Mental Health
March 27, 2014
After a 4.4 magnitude earthquake shook California residents on St. Patrick’s Day, many people have found it difficult to shake their high-strung nerves, according to CBS Los Angeles’ article, “‘Earthquake Nerves’ could Impact Mental Health’”.
Emotional aftershocks are common after experiencing emergencies or natural disasters. But did you know these aftershocks are capable of affecting your mental health if you ignore them?
One of the most important things you can do after a disaster, according to Psychiatrist Charles Sophy, is to talk about your experience. Sophy believes emotional signs such as the inability to fall asleep or the lack of hunger are “signs that you’re still very upset [and] are red flags that you need to do something, which is either talking to [another] adult or call[ing] your doctor. Talk to your husband, your partner, whatever, but you’ve got to talk about it.”
Talking about your experience can help alleviate the stress and anxiety that comes from the lack of control you felt during a crisis. It’s equally important to talk with your children if you’re a parent and to not underestimate or downplay the danger of earthquakes. Read the rest of the article here.
Preparing will help alleviate some of the potential emotional turmoil and distress that comes from emergencies. Focus on the following areas (in addition to gathering gear and supplies):
- Prepare your home: You can prepare your home by building a supply of food, water, and gear to help you survive after an earthquake. You can go even further by bolting down furniture or securing vases, frames, and other moveable objects with an adhesive putty or gel, like these from Quake Hold.
- Prepare your children: Teach your children how to stay safe at home, school, and while outdoors during an earthquake. Also let your children help make a plan, build an emergency kit, and get involved. Check out Ready.gov for ideas on how to include your children.
- Prepare yourself: Prepare yourself emotionally and physically for an earthquake. If you’ve taken the above precautions and prepared your home and your children, you’ll be able to better focus on keeping your emotions in check during an emergency.
What precautions do you think are the most important to take for an earthquake?