As the floodwaters in western Iowa remain high, so do the stress levels on residents. Karen Hyatt, an emergency mental health specialist with the state, says most people might know they are stressed, but don’t take advantage of professional help that is available.
“It’s not easy for people to ask for any kind of emotional assistance, or anxiety control, we’re just not geared that way,” Hyatt says, “people are more apt to say their neighbor needs help.” Hyatt works with special crisis counseling teams from the Iowa Department of Human Services that visited western Iowa residents before the major floodwaters hit.
Now that things are in full flood mode, she says you can call the Iowa Concern Hotline and get help is you’re feeling stressed.
Hyatt says the 24-hour number is 800-447-1985, and it has also been designated as the state disaster rumor control hotline. While she says it’s important to deal with the stress, it’s also important to not go too far the other way and not take the threat seriously.
Hyatt says the projections say the flooding could last 60 to 90 days and sometimes people become complacent and don’t continue adhering to safety plans because nothing has been happening. Hyatt says people need to realize that the range of emotions they are feeling in this situation is normal, and it’s important to find ways to cope, and to seek help if you feel overwhelmed.