On May 3, 2019 Fort McMurray will be facing the 3rd anniversary of the 2016 Wildfire, which greatly impacted our residents, their families, businesses, and the entire community.
The Canadian Mental Health Association of Wood Buffalo wants all the members of our community to know that we are here to help. We provide support to not only those with Mental Illness, but support the mental well being of all. CMHA recognizes that many people are facing increased stress and anxiety with regard to the wildfire and its continuing effects.
Anxiety can present itself in the inability to focus, decreased functioning or productivity, panic attacks, rapid thinking and more. Stress can be physical and emotional, and include behaviors where you are emotional, or have fatigue, poor concentration, confusion, and/or agitation.
Natural disasters can be extremely traumatic and overwhelming for people. While some people will get through these hard times, for others it may be very hard to cope and the disaster can spark a bigger ongoing mental health problem.
Most people are unsure of when they should reach out for mental health supports. It’s vital to watch for the following signs and contact a professional if they last more than 2 to 4 weeks:
- Trouble with sleeping and eating
- Feeling depressed or hopeless, showing low energy or crying often
- Being anxious and fearful
- Trouble focusing on daily activities
- Recurring thoughts or nightmares about the event
- Avoiding activities or places that are reminders of the event.
If you are not experiencing the above signs but have a general feeling of lacking mental clarity, a good place to start is by creating a self-care plan. Find an activity which makes you feel better such as
- A nap, or relaxation activities such as a warm bath or massage
- Time with loved ones, friends, and pets
- Quiet time such as reading or meditating.