September is National Preparedness Month, hosted by FEMA to raise awareness of the importance of having an emergency preparedness plan. Without a plan of action, people may struggle to mentally and physically cope during an emergency. Brookhaven Retreat believes that preparedness is especially important for women recovering from mental health issues and encourages all women to create an emergency kit.
According to FEMA, there have been 50 percent more disasters declared annually this decade versus previous decades, yet only 53 percent of families have an emergency kit in case of disaster. Natural disasters can adversely affect mental health; the most common psychiatric disorders following a disaster are posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
Women recovering from mental illness rely on routines to establish healthy sleep, nutrition, social and life habits that support wellness. Disasters disrupt a woman’s ability to follow these established routines. Building a disaster preparedness kit enables disaster survivors to stay safe, comfortable and healthy despite lack of power and water.
In September, Brookhaven Retreat encourages all clients and staff to construct personal disaster kits for themselves and their families. Emergency kits should contain a minimum three-day supply of non-perishable food, water, first aid kit, flashlights, toiletries, pet supplies, medication and more. A complete list can be found on FEMA’s website.
Proper emergency planning can prevent women from succumbing to stress, anxiety and depression, and safeguard mental wellness in case of a disaster.