How to cope

Take steps to avoid stress from the storm

Contact loved ones, if possible, so it’s known that everyone is OK.

Stay connected with your community, friends, relatives and neighbors. Don’t let yourself become isolated.

Expect to go through the natural grieving process — denial, questioning, acceptance and recovery.

Stress might begin for you as early as the start of hurricane season. Don’t wait until the crisis is nearly on us to first work on managing your stress or seeking help .

You might experience short tempers, a reluctance to abandon your property, guilt over having been unable to better prevent damage, flashbacks of the ordeal, difficulty in making decisions and letting pride get in the way of accepting help. Recognize these as effects from the crisis that will pass. Talk about your feelings with friends or relatives, or if necessary contact social agencies for help.

You’ll find yourself worn out as recovery drags on and you yearn to return to normalcy. Pay attention to your physical health. Make sure you’re eating properly and getting plenty of rest.

Avoid drugs or alcohol. You need to be alert.

Avoid argument and confrontation. You need teamwork and camaraderie to get through recovery.

If you’ve escaped injury or damage, it’s natural to experience “survivor’s guilt.” Don’t push yourself too hard trying to help others.

Seniors or the disabled might not be strong enough to prepare homes, install window coverings and drive to get supplies.

Make sure both their needs and their mental health are taken care of and that they have plenty of supporters.

211 provides referrals to many programs

Year-round, with access to more than 4,200 local programs, 211 provides up-to-date information and referrals to health and human service programs, crisis counseling, suicide prevention and community education services .

Before a storm, 211 provides information on emergency shelters and answers questions about hurricane preparedness.

During a storm, 211 offers reassurance for individuals who are isolated and alone and provides crisis telephone counseling for people experiencing emotional distress.

After a storm, 211 helps direct qualified individuals to resources that are most appropriate to meet their unique needs. It also provides referrals to emergency assistance programs, including local distribution centers and meal site locations. 211 also maintains a designated hurricane Web site,, containing up-to-date information on recovery and relief efforts.

Dial 2-1-1 before, during and after a storm to find resources and crisis counseling in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties.

Project H.O.P.E.

Project H.O.P.E. offers disaster survivors free, short-term crisis counseling, education about disaster related distress, and referral services for professional help. The project will be activated only if there’s a storm. Check local media for contact information at that time.