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FOR RELEASE: September 14, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn

County Health Departments Offer Help to Families Coping with Tragedy

State Health Commissioner Leslie Beitsch, M.D., J.D. is requesting that local county health departments be vigilant in responding to the emotional needs of the community as people reveal increased levels of anxiety and depression. In particular, the emotional security needs of children may become apparent to health care professionals providing medical services during regular office visits.

“The initial response of many people may appear as fear, shock, disbelief, confusion, numbness, difficulty making decisions, or just the need for additional information. We want to be available and responsive to the needs of Oklahomans during this time of national tragedy,” Beitsch said.

As part of the response to coping with national and local disasters, the county health departments will make available a copy of the pamphlet “After the Storm: Helping Families Cope with Disaster” upon request. The pamphlet provides information on coping with a violent disaster, whether natural or man-made. It was first distributed after the May 3, 1999, tornado. The document may also be viewed on the Oklahoma State Department of Health Web site at www.health.state.ok.us/program/mchs/ats/index.html.

Topics covered include:

  • Normal Responses to Traumatic Events
  • Effects on Young Children
  • Effects on Older Children
  • How to Help Your Family
  • Other Resources Available.

A network of Child Guidance Programs is located in county health departments throughout the state to provide family support, parenting education and counseling services for families in Oklahoma. For more information on child guidance services or how to obtain a copy of the pamphlet “After the Storm: Helping Families Cope with Disaster,” contact your local county health department.


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