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Living Your Life During Challenging Times

We live in unsettling times. Ongoing wars, threat of terrorism, and an economic downturn combined with our own personal struggles and challenges can cause stress, fear and anxiety about the future. Such feelings can have a cumulative effect on the mental health of Americans. How can people cope and lead "normal lives" in these challenging times?

We all react differently to news of disturbing events, but there are common feelings many of us experience. Disbelief, fear, difficulty making decisions, nervousness and irritability, sadness and depression and powerlessness are just a few.

Here are some things you can do to cope and maintain a sense of "normalcy":

  • Remain engaged in the world by staying connected with people. Don't withdraw.
  • Talk to family, friends or co-workers about your fears.
  • Keep up on the news but don't watch it round the clock.
  • Take necessary precautions. But don't overdo it. Make an emergency communication plan with family and friends. Re-introduce yourself to neighbors and exchange phone numbers.
  • Maintain your regular routine and include time to do things you enjoy.
  • Get involved in local activities. Attend a meeting on community preparedness. Send a donation to a relief fund.
  • Take care of your health. Make time for exercise and other pleasurable activities that distract you and lower your stress level. Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Be optimistic about the challenges ahead. Stay in touch with your spirituality.

If your anxious or "down" feelings don't go away or are so intense that they interfere with your daily life, seek the help of a mental health professional. This may be especially important for those who live with depression, substance abuse problems, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

 

Talking with Your Children About Traumatic Events

Here are some tips for talking with your children when they have witnessed or heard about traumatic events:

Listen to your children: Ask your children what they have heard about the traumatic event. What do they think happened? Let them tell you in their own words and answer their questions. Do not assume you know what they are feeling or what their questions will be. The easiest way to have this conversation might be while they are engaged in an activity: drawing, sitting on a swing, or driving with you in the car. Details that may be obvious to adults may not be to children. Be truthful, but don't tell them more information than they can handle for their age.

Focus on their safety: Once you understand their perception of the traumatic event, be clear that you will keep them safe and let them know adults (school, police, etc.) are working hard to make sure they will stay safe.

Pay attention to your reactions: Your children will be watching you carefully and taking their cues from you. If you can manage your anxiety about the traumatic event, your children will be more easily reassured.

Monitor your child's access to media: It will help if young children do not watch news reports or see the front page of the newspaper. Young children who watch a traumatic event on the TV news may think the event is still ongoing or happening again.

Watch for behavior changes: Your children may show you through their behavior that they are still struggling with what they have heard or seen. They may have physical complaints or regressive behaviors often including nightmares, insomnia, or bedwetting. They may feel guilty that they are responsible for the event, and need to be reassured that they are not responsible.

Maintain your routines: Sticking to your daily structure of activities - mealtimes, betime rituals, etc. - reduces anxiety and helps children feel more in control.

Keep the door open: Encourage your children to come to you with any questions or concerns and do not assume the questions will stop after a few days or even a few weeks. Let them know their fears and questions are normal and you will always make time for them. Remind them all questions are welcome.

Consider this a teachable moment: For older children, this traumatic event may lead to a discussion about ways they can help others who have experienced a tragedy. You can also ask them if they know how to keep themselves safe when they are away from home. Traumatic events make us feel like we have lost contro, so any constructive activities we engage in make us feel less vulnerable.

2013 Mental Health America / formerly known as the National Mental Health Association

 

Bouncing Back After Adversity:
The Recovering Power of Resiliency

Challenge and change are a fact of life. How do you deal with unexpected or stressful times? Resiliency is the emotional strength that helps you recover quickly and thoroughly from change and bounce back after any adversity. It is a skill that can be applied to any area of life. The following are 7 main qualities of a resilient person:

  • Be Optimistic
  • Focus on Solutions
  • Cultivate Supportive Relationships
  • Enjoy Simple Joys
  • Live by Sense of Purpose
  • Care for Yourself
  • Maximize Strengths

Resilience is more than just coping. It is excelling in the little and large challenges of life, and coming through them even stronger than before. Just as spring flowers are able to pop up and thrive after winter, so can the resilient person bounce back after a difficult event. But just as the grass needs water, sun, food, and nurturing to become green again, we need these seven vital qualities to recover from adversity. With the power of resiliency even through "dry spells" or "heavy rains" or "strong winds" can grab some petals from the "stem," life renews, bounces back, and even thrives.

If you find yourself having trouble bouncing back or if stressful feelings disrupt your life or go on too long, there may be a bigger problem. You may want to seek professional counseling or gain more insight by taking a free, confidential mental health screening below:

Click here to take a CONFIDENTIAL and FREE screening.
Please know that no specific information about individuals is collected.

 

NOMINATIONS INVITED FOR COMMENDATION AWARDS

Since 1987, the Human Services Committee has presented annual commendation awards to individuals, organizations, agencies, groups, coalitions, partnerships who have been active in human service work. The committee presents the awards each year to those individuals or organizations that, over time, have alleviated human suffering that results from such factors as poverty, physical and/or mental handicaps, unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of health insurance, anxiety and stress, crime and violence, overcrowded housing or lack of housing, and any other condition that creates suffering.

Anyone who knows someone who has been working over and above the call of duty, performing extraordinary volunteer services, providing exceptional leadership and similar note worthy contributions to Falmouth and its residents, should stop by or click below for nomination forms.

All nominations that are received by the deadline of January 20, 2014, will be reviewed and given full consideration. Nomination forms may be mailed to Falmouth Human Services. Because each entry undergoes considerable deliberation, the review process takes several months, culminating in an awards ceremony held in May 2014

*Please Click here if you wish to nominate an individual or an organization for the 2014 Human Services Committee Commendations award*

 

Falmouth Human Services is a department of the Town of Falmouth whose mission is to enhance the quality of life of all Falmouth residents by ensuring the availability of a comprehensive range of health and human services.

  Our licensed, professional staff provide a broad range of individual, couples, family and group counseling; outreach, advocacy, information and referral services for problems, crisis, or situational life difficulties. These services are free of charge and available to all Falmouth residents with priority given to those without health insurance or ability to pay for counseling services.

   Furthermore, the department provides consultation and technical assistance to local community organizations, federal and state legislators, and regional human service providers in order to promote and enhance the development of needed community services.

 

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