We cannot change the past, but we can offer our support to those that worry most fiercely, and in doing so we can help those we love make it through this difficult time.
How to Help
- Be there to listen – you don’t have to have answers, as long as you take the time to lend a sympathetic ear. You don’t have to cheer anyone up – just be there.
- Spend time with your loved one – you are a comfort with your presence, but also respect his or her sometimes need for space and privacy
- Be patient – during a period of great worry your loved one may display irritability, a lessening of intimacy, exhaustion, or psychosomatic illness as a reaction to the stress. Your extra understanding will be appreciated
- If possible, encourage and support healthy eating, sleep and exercise.
- Try to defray other life stresses from your loved one during this period
- Encourage your loved one to spend time away from computer or TV reports of Haiti – a constant vigilance only increases anxiety
- Understand that negative emotions are normal as a response to a disaster, but also take the time to learn the symptoms of PTSD and be ready to suggest an assessment of things don’t get better in time.
Page last updated Aug 05, 2010