Mono County Behavioral Health
Offering help to those affected by the Round Fire
IF you have lost your house:
It is normal to have any or all of the following reactions:
Difficulty concentrating or focusing
Feeling numb or extremely sensitive or both
Difficulty sleeping and/or eating
Lack of energy
Feeling urgent to get as much done as quickly as possible (even when it isn’t possible)
Inability to connect to others
Shock and Overwhelm
Increased startle response
Loss of interest in pleasurable events
Flashbacks and strong responses to noises (such as wind, loud bangs, etc)
Intense anger and/or irritability
If you have not lost your house, but your neighbor’s have:
Any of the above plus–
Feeling on the “outside”
What to do:
Create a routine and/or schedule
Take your time. Emotional recovery cannot be rushed
Talk, talk, talk about what happened, how you feel, etc.
Stay hydrated, eat well, get exercise
Connect with others through your community, family, friends or place of worship
Pay attention to and reduce how much alcohol or other drugs you are using to cope
Spend time enjoying the beautiful and magical place where you live
Remember that having a strong response to this is totally and completely normal. Not everyone will have the same reactions—some will have more, some less, some now, some later.
IF any of the above persist for more than a couple of weeks please give us a call.
IF any physical symptoms persist, please see your Primary Care Provider.
IF you or someone you know have persistent feelings of suicide call immediately.
IF it’s an emergency, call 911….
What to do if you know someone who is suffering:
We all want to help. It’s a natural human response. However, sometimes our discomfort with the suffering of others get’s us in the “fix it” mode. The people who have been affected by the recent events in Walker/Coleville, Bridgeport and Swall Meadows (residents, First Responders, County staff working in shelters, etc.) will have a story to tell. The best medicine is to listen. Deeply listen. We tend to try and “solve the problem” or give advice when we feel helpless. What people need from us is support—the listening and empathetic kind. Of course, if they say, “Hey can you help me figure out how to get a new truck,” then advice is what they need. But if they are just standing there, looking overwhelmed and dazed or start to cry in your presence, a hug and a willing ear goes a long, long way:
Do say, “I’m so sorry.”
Don’t say, “Everything will be okay.”
Do say, “This totally sucks”
Don’t say, “The best thing is to move on”
Do say, “Tell me what you miss the most so far. Tell me what happened.”
Don’t say, “Well it could have been worse. At least no one died.”
Do say, “How did you find out? Tell me the story.”
Don’t say, “You can rebuild” OR “You can always get another pet”
Do say, “What have you lost?”
Don’t say, “I know what you are going through”
Do say, “I’ll keep in touch (and do). What can I help you with right now (and then do it)”
This is the time to bring our best selves forward. Be kind. Bare witness. Be compassionate. Don’t try to fix anything; you can’t. Do show up, maybe be quiet, and let your friends, loved ones, strangers, neighbors tell you their story. That is the biggest gift you have to offer.
If you have any questions or concerns, call:
Mono County Behavioral Health