Residents experience post-traumatic stress after Florence

Pee Dee

Experts have seen an increase in post-traumatic stress in the wake of a storm. 

Hurricane Florence caused significant structural damage, power outages, downed tress and flooding.  According to Jessica Hayes, executive director at iHope Christian Care and Counseling, natural disaster events can lead to stress, and even suicidal thoughts.

“When there’s a high level of loss it takes a lot to recover and get your feet back up to start moving forward,” said Hayes. 

A 69-year-old Robeson County man whose home was damaged by two hurricanes took his own life, raising the death toll of Hurricane Florence.

“We do find that people are more likely to be thinking about suicide because if you have to start over there’s a sense of, is it worth starting over,” said Hayes. 

iHope Christian Care and Counseling says the fear of believing you’re about to lose everything can be overwhelming. 

“Folks who have anxiety or depression issues prior to a storm will find that it escalates after the storm” said Hayes. 

Hayes has seen an increase of anxiety even before the storm because people start remembering how bad things were with Hurricane Matthew back in 2016. 

“You’ll often find those symptoms lasting for weeks or even months after it’s over because their lives have been turned upside down,” said Hayes. 

The center had several cancellations after Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas because patients had no way of getting out of their homes. 

“Trying to seek support from the people that we do have in our lives can be really helpful especially in this longer term aftermath of a storm,” said Hayes. 

Experts say if people are still struggling with anxiety of feeling depressed, they should seek help from a professional. 

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