The Salvation Army Reminds Residents to Prepare Emotionally and Spiritually for Hurricane Season

May 30, 2013 - 5:42 PM EDT
Mark Jones
mark_jones@uss.salvationarmy.org
(601) 961-7709
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Jackson, MS (May 30, 2013) – The Salvation Army wants to remind residents that it is essential to prepare yourself and your family for the emotional and spiritual impact of Hurricane Season, as well as preparing physically.

For many in the Gulf-south, the beginning of Hurricane Season conjures up thoughts of uncertainty, fear and memories of previous storms. These stresses and the reality that Hurricane season is once again upon us can unsettle the spirit and mind.

Not to mention the emotional and spiritual impact a land falling Hurricane can have on an individual and family. Following a natural disaster many people experience loss of property and resources. These stark realities can take an emotional and spiritual toll on not only the mind, but if left unchecked the emotional pressure can impact the body.

Reality is that disasters impact lives – and the dimensions that express life – the physical, (a destroyed home, bodily injury), the social (disrupted relationships and routines), the psychological (intellectual and emotional) and spiritual (searching for meaning and connectedness).

When one thinks of Disaster Relief they immediately think about food, hydration and recovery.

One of the more overlooked areas of The Salvation Army’s Disaster Preparedness and Response is the provision of Emotional and Spiritual Care to those impacted by disaster as well as those responding to the disaster.

Emotional care offers an opportunity where one can express their emotions without judgment. Emotional care takes on many shapes and applications and can have many different purposes.

A critical part of emotional care is listening. To acknowledge and recognize the validity of what someone is trying to share – whether that takes the form of tears, or words or a mix of anything in between - is to offer basic emotional care.

It is also through listening that one can tell if the person would be better served by mental, physical health or spiritual services and facilitate access to those services. This also applies to spiritual care.

Mental Health professionals have given several tips for residents to prepare in advance for the emotional and Spiritual Impact of a disaster.

• Expect that you will be bothered by unusual feelings that may not be “like you”
• Maintain a good diet and exercise
• Spend time with family, friends, and coworkers, talking about your feelings
• Take time for leisure activities
• Remind yourself that post-traumatic effects are normal
• Learn as much as possible about Critical Incident Stress
• Get extra help, if necessary
• Take one step at a time, be patient with yourself and others
• Be aware of your thinking and think more realistically about the incident
• Allow yourself time to recover following a disaster

The Salvation Army’s Emotional and Spiritual Care arises from the mission to meet human needs, both physically and spiritually. This holistic ministry functions daily in communities impacted by disaster.

As part of its disaster response operation, The Salvation Army also is prepared to provide:

• Clean-up kits containing brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning supplies
• Hygiene kits
• Drinking water
• Shower units
• First-aid supplies
• Missing persons support through The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (www.satern.org) and
• Emotional/spiritual care

Even as Hurricane Season begins, the Salvation Army is actively meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of residents of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Salvation Army case workers work daily to provide utility, housing and feeding assistance to families in financial crisis. Homeless and transitional shelters are open daily to meet the needs of the disenfranchised and homeless. The Salvation Army’s summer residential camping programs are preparing to welcome over 2,000 children to Camp Hidden Lake in Lexington, Miss. this summer. 

The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by natural disaster to visit www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Monetary donations are needed to meet the most immediate physical and emotional needs.

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About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 128 years in the United States. Nearly 31 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

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