Hurricane Ian: How to take care of your mental health following the storm

ORLANDO, Fla. — Emotions can be all over the place following a natural disaster like Hurricane Ian. You can be angry over damage, grateful things aren’t worse, guilty that others are suffering, worried about the next storm and so many other feelings.

Dwight Bain, a nationally certified counselor and critical incident recovery expert, compiled a “Natural Disaster Recovery Guide” detailing psychological strategies to rebuild after Hurricane Ian.


In it, he says critical incidents like a hurricane can lead to disastrous and self-destructive behavior.

To avoid that, he said, the most important thing to focus on is not making a bad situation worse.

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“Keep this single thought in mind as you begin to sort through the process of stabilizing yourself and those you care about who have been impacted by the storm,” Bain said.

Bain encourages people to deal directly with their emotions to reduce tension and stress, which allows them to have more energy to deal with a difficult situation.

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He said to psychologically recover from an event like Hurricane Ian, you need three key elements:

1. Healthy coping skills

2. Healthy support

3. Healthy perspective

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Bain said following natural disasters, it’s possible to develop a rapid build-up of psychological symptoms referred to as “Storm Stress Syndrome.”

The symptoms include any dramatic change in emotions, behavior, thought patterns or physical symptoms over the next few days, weeks, or perhaps even months, based on the level of traumatic exposure.

“Natural disasters are an intensely stressful time for everyone, both during and after the storm, and there are several factors to be aware of to keep yourself and those who you care about safe,” Bain said.

You can read his full guide below:

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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