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Winter Park therapist Cherlette McCullough says it's ok not to be ok after Ian

Photo: Cherlette McCullough
Photo: Cherlette McCullough

Hurricane Ian brought record rain and flooding to central Florida. More than 2 million Floridians are without power and many more are surveying damage to their homes or businesses.

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Winter Park therapist Cherlette McCullough says this kind of natural disaster can have an affect on a person’s mental health. 

WMFE’s Danielle Prieur spoke with McCullough about how to help yourself or a loved one who might be struggling in the storm’s aftermath. 

Interview excerpts 

On what to look for in friends and family 

"Thinking about their mood changes, thinking about their behavior changes. If you notice something from your loved one who's not very talkative, you notice that their mood has changed, they become more irritable, sometimes they become more talkative, you know, and then sometimes it can be they can be more reserved than normal, you know, if they're eating more or eating less."

On how to help kids process their emotions 

"So one would be to monitor your own emotions. Pay attention to what you are feeling and how you're feeling and how you're expressing that in your home. Because your children are watching you and they are listening. Be mindful of what you are sharing with them, what words you are using with them."

On a good mantra for moms and dads to use

"I will be mindful of what I allow my children to see on the news and hear from me concerning Hurricane Ian. I understand that children's anxiety levels are almost heightened 10 times the amount of adults' anxiety and they have fewer coping skills."

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.