Throughout the country, news of Harvey, Irma and Jose has stirred concern. For those who have lived through the traumatic events of Harvey and are currently experiencing Irma’s reign, there may even be some panic, stress or sadness. This is because climate affects mental health.
This year ecoAmerica teamed up with the American Psychological Association to write the evidence-based report, Mental Health and Our Changing Climate. The report provides insight to the impacts and implications of climate change and gives guidance to individuals, organizations, communities and leaders.
Here are some takeaways from the mental health report that can help faith communities maintain mental health during natural disasters and other traumatic events.
Believe in Resilience
Belief in one’s self – boosts resilience. Research shows that people who think positively handle trauma and stress better than those who do not. In most cases, this self-efficacy limits the chance of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression after a traumatic event.
Always find good in the bad experiences. Even in the worst of circumstances, reframing it can put your mind at rest. Be careful not to be overly optimistic. This could lead to disappointment. However, thinking of what there is to look forward to once the circumstances have changed is a healthy level of optimism.
Learn to Cope
Coping with their circumstances allows a person to get in touch with their thoughts and emotions. This dives into the cognitive dimensions of the mind, as well as the behavioral.
Involvement in a faith community – especially during times of struggle, is a protective form of mental health. It ignites feelings of peace, which is much needed to boost well-being.
Disaster or trauma can put a strain on a person’s mental health. But there are ways to prepare for this. Being prepared can make a disaster feel less traumatic.
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