Coping emotionally after an emergency

In an emergency situation, you may react in a number of ways, these may include shock or disbelief, fear and anxiety, depression, anger and grief. You should try to remain calm so you can better control your emotions. If you feel particularly frightened or anxious follow the few simple steps below.

  • Stop what you are doing and take a few deep breaths
  • Try to keep family and friends together wherever possible
  • Focus on what you are feeling and talk through your thoughts calmly with family or friends
  • Comfort each other
  • Focus on what tasks you and your family can do practically
  • Explain to children what is happening, and try to reassure them
  • Keep yourself up to date with what is happening by listening to your radio or television, however do not watch disturbing images constantly. Take turns listening to the updates with other suitable adults around you
  • After a major incident, check if children or neighbours are still distressed. Try to encourage them to talk about their experience

Following an incident, you may experience a range of emotional and physical feelings. These are normal; however, should they continue seek professional advice, for example your GP, Social Workers, Family Liaison Officers.

Helping Children and Vulnerable Adults

After an incident children or vulnerable adults will be most afraid that, for example, either the incident will happen again, or they will be separated from family.

Try to help by:

  • Providing comfort and re-assurance
  • Keep them near you
  • Explain what has happened or may still be going on
  • Encourage them to talk about their experiences
  • Let them help you
  • Try as much as possible to keep activities normal, such as going to school, involvement in family activities
  • Try to avoid exposure to excessive television replays of events

Updated: 6 March 2013