SAMHSA Tips for Survivors of a Pandemic: MANAGING STRESS

SAMHSA Tips for Survivors of a Pandemic: MANAGING STRESS
Posted 2/5/2021

This SAMHSA Tipsheet shares helpful understandings about pandemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and other disasters including the physical danger and also stress that can overwhelm survivors’ usual coping strategies, both during and after the disaster. After a pandemic or other disaster, people often notice changes in how they feel, think, and act, and they may not realize that these changes are reactions to the disaster. Survivors may be at higher risk of intense reactions if they live in communities where many people suffer from illness; they had the disease themselves; or if they had health, mental health, or substance use conditions before and during the pandemic. Pandemics, unlike other types of disasters do not have a clear beginning and ending, sometimes leading to increased uncertainty and distress. This tip sheet describes common reactions after pandemics and other disasters and suggests ways to cope. It also covers financial stress and signs of the urgent need for mental health assistance and lists sources of help and support. Resource links are available on this tipsheet, as tips to recognize signs of distress in children.