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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Emergencies / Disasters
- When Something Big Happens

How You May Feel?

Right after it happens, you may feel:

  • Afraid
  • Shocked
  • Numb


It may be hard to decide what to do next. You may want to:

  • Find out as much as you can about what happened.
  • Help yourself and your family
  • Help others who are going through the same thing


A few weeks after it is over, you may feel:

  • Really mad
  • In a bad mood
  • Afraid of the future
  • Guilty because there was nothing you could do


You may also feel that:

  • You don't trust anyone
  • It was "all too much for me" (overwhelmed)
  • You are not getting enough help
  • The help you are getting is not good enough
  • You want to be alone


The way you feel may affect your body. You may have:

  • No desire to eat OR you may eat too much
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • A hard time sleeping
  • Crying spells




What Can You Do?

Here's what you can do:

For yourself

  • Try to eat meals at the normal times
  • Get enough sleep
  • Do some kind of exercise
  • Take a step back and look at what happened
  • Try to solve problems WITH other people, not alone
  • Take some time to be alone
  • Take some time to be with loved ones or friends
  • Try to enjoy the small things of life
  • Go easy. Do not ask too much of yourself


For your spouse

  • Take sometime to be alone together
  • Take time to talk about what happened
  • Keep an open mind. The way YOU think about what happened may NOT be the way your spouse sees it.
  • Be more willing to listen
  • Take turns hearing what the other has to say
  • Hug each other
  • Don't take your anger out on the one you love


For your children

  • Kids have their own way of dealing with things. If you have young children you may find they:
  • Go back to baby things, like sucking their thumb OR wetting the bed
  • Want to be close to you all the time
  • Don't want to go to bed
  • Have bad dreams
  • Cry and scream
  • Pretend that the "bad thing" never happened
  • Become very quiet
  • Don't want to play active games
  • Don't want to go to school
  • Start to have problems at school
  • Hug them or hold them. This makes them feel safe.
  • Tell them about safety rules so they know what to do if it happens again
  • Spend more time with them. 
  • Try to be there at bedtime
  • Praise them when they do things right - child is coping


Here are some things you can do to help your children:

  • Talk about what happened
  • Tell them about it in a way they will understand
  • Say how YOU feel about what happened
  • Let them know they are safe. Tell them this OFTEN


For older parents, friends or relatives

  • Let them talk about how they feel
  • Try to find out what they are afraid of AND what they need
  • Respect what they say and the choices they make
  • Let them know that they WILL be able to cope. Remind them that they coped with many other bad or sad things in their life
  • Offer to help them out by driving them places or helping around the house
  • If you can't help them, tell them about people or groups who can
  • Plan to do something with them that they enjoy, like playing cards
  • Don't pressure them to make any big changes, like selling their house


For your community

  • Listen to people who are having problems
  • Say how you feel about what happened
  • Keep in mind that tempers may be short. Some people may be having a very hard time
  • Tell people where they can go for help, if you know where to go
  • Give credit to all those who are helping out



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