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People Might Experience Poor Mental Health After Hurricane Michael: Here’s How to Get Help


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Stress, depression, and anxiety can be triggered by natural and man-made disasters. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Stress, depression, and anxiety can be triggered by natural and man-made disasters. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

A national helpline for people suffering from poor mental health after natural disasters has seen an increase in calls since Hurricane Michael. Operators can connect callers with local agencies that provide support.

Commander Jamie Seligman runs the disaster branch of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. He says people affected by Hurricane Michael who call the Disaster Distress Helpline might be experiencing:

“Eating or sleeping too much, pulling away from people of things, having low energy, having unexplained aches and pains, feeling helpless or hopeless.”

Seligman says these could be symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety triggered by uncertainty caused by the storm. That’s why operators are available 24/7 in over 100 languages to connect people with local agencies that can provide temporary housing, food, and health assistance.

The Disaster Distress Helpline can be reached at 1-800-985-5990. 

This includes the National Suicide Prevention Hotline if:

“Sometimes in the conversation it may pop up that they are depressed. They are suicidal and we get them that help right away.”

The National Suicide Prevention can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

If you’d like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above.


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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Health Reporter

Danielle Prieur grew up listening to her grandfather’s stories of swimming across the Detroit River from Canada and many other adventures. She’s been into storytelling ever since. She studied writing at the University of Michigan, and then taught high school writing and literature for four years before ... Read Full Bio »

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