SonomaCountyRecovers: Official recovery information for Sonoma County fires

Mental Health & Wellness

When we experience a disaster, people react with increased anxiety, worry and anger. With community and family support, most of us bounce back.  Some of us, however, may need extra assistance to cope with unfolding events and uncertainties. Everyone, even the people that others look up to for guidance and assistance, is entitled to their feelings and deserves support throughout the recovery process.

If you or someone in your care needs additional assistance recovering emotionally from the fires, please access the following free services:

  • Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative – Call NAMI at (866-960-6264) or visit www.mysonomastrong.com
    • Free group information and resiliency building sessions conducted by SPR trained mental health professionals
    • Free yoga and iRest meditation classes
    • Free individual counseling
    • Free self-guided resilience training
  • Rebuilding Our Community (ROC) Sonoma County – Call (707) 535-3349 or visit https://rocsonomacounty.org
  • Disaster Case Management – Call Catholic Charities at (866) 542-5480

Ten Ways to Build Resilience

Ten Ways to Build Resilience Spanish

Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24-7

If you are experiencing emotional distress, perhaps because of recent red flag warnings or smoke from fires outside Sonoma County, a national Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.

This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.

Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Spanish speakers can call 1-800-985-5990 and press "2" or text Hablanos to 66746

The deaf or hard of hearing can text TalkWithUs to 66746.

Use your preferred relay service to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990

TTY 1-800-846-8517

The hotline is provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation

For more information, go to www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline

Recovery Takes Time

Getting ourselves and our lives back in a routine that is comfortable for us takes time.

  • Take care of your safety. Find a safe place to stay and make sure your physical health needs and those of your family are addressed. Seek medical attention if necessary.
  • Limit your exposure to the sights and sounds of disaster, especially on television, the radio and in the newspapers.
  • Eat healthy. During times of stress, it is important that you maintain a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
  • Get some rest. With so much to do, it may be difficult to have enough time to rest or get adequate sleep. Giving your body and mind a break can boost your ability to cope with the stress you may be experiencing.
  • Stay connected with family and friends. Giving and getting support is one of the most important things you can do. Try to do something as a family that you have all enjoyed in the past.
  • Be patient with yourself and with those around you. Recognize that everyone is stressed and may need some time to put their feelings and thoughts in order. That includes you!
  • Set priorities. Tackle tasks in small steps.
  • Gather information about assistance and resources that will help you and your family members meet your disaster-related needs.
  • Stay positive. Remind yourself of how you’ve successfully gotten through difficult times in the past. Reach out when you need support, and help others when they need it.

When the Challenges Are Ongoing

Many people have experience coping with stressful life events and typically feel better after a few days. Others find that their stress does not go away as quickly as they would like and it influences their relationships with their family, friends and others.

If you find yourself or a loved one experiencing some of the feelings and reactions listed below for two weeks or longer, this may be a sign that you need to reach out for additional assistance.

  • Crying spells or bursts of anger
  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Losing interest in things
  • Increased physical symptoms sucha as headaches or stomachaches
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling guilty, helpless or hopeless
  • Avoiding family and friends

American Red Cross Resources and Guides

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health

Helping Children Cope with Disaster

Guides are available in other languages on the American Red Cross website.

 

Here are suggestions:

Message, text or email them your love and concern. Short and sweet: “I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m so glad you are alive.” “I love you” is nice too.

Listen. Everyone’s experience of this tragedy is be different. It helps when someone simply listens to how it is for her or him. Don’t offer advice or stories about others’ loss: just listen.

Send a gift card or offer financial help: Your friends are going to be spending money for to meet so many needs. Grocery stores and restaurants cards are especially useful, since insurance claims take time to process, even in the best of times.

Make a meal or shop for groceries. Food is comforting and vital to help tired people. Your friends may not want company, but a meal may be welcome. Your contribution helps even if your friends are being staying with loved ones.

Ask to run errands or drive them. Deliver right to their door. If they want to do their own shopping, having you chauffeur can take some pressure off.

Ask children what they need. Is there a game or toy a child is missing because of the fire? Deliver that to the family. Helping the children helps the family.

Be there for the months ahead. Rebuilding after this disaster is going to take time. It’s important to be there for your friends now and in the future. All the kindnesses and caring actions above will help for a long time to come.

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