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FOR RELEASE: May 9, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

After the Storm: Helping Families Cope with Disaster

The Oklahoma State Department of Health Child Guidance Program has developed a booklet, "After The Storm: Helping Families Cope With Disaster" , for parents, caretakers, and family and friends to use in dealing with the emotional effects of adults and children who experienced yesterday’s storms.

The booklet provides information on the normal immediate responses to traumatic events, such as fear, shock, confusion, and difficulty in making decisions, as well as later responses, which may include anxiety, loss of appetite, feelings of helplessness, guilt, apathy and depression. Of particular interest is the effect of disasters on children and their predictable reactions.

Included in the booklet are suggestions on how to help the family cope, such as providing reassurance, listening as family members "tell their story" over and over, maintaining normal routines as much as possible, and modifying expectations.

The booklet is free and available by calling the State Health Department's Child Guidance Program, 405/271-4477, Monday through Friday during regular office hours or visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health Web site at www.health.state.ok.us .

A network of child guidance programs that provide family support and parenting education and counseling services are available in county health departments throughout the state. For assistance, contact the county health department nearest you.

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