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Health Advisory Following Disasters

By: , October 31, 2023

The Full Story

Following the earthquake that affected sections of the island on Monday, October 30, 2023, the Ministry of Health & Wellness advises the public that persons may experience stress, anxiety, and depression as common reactions to any disaster.

Persons may display these signs following a traumatic experience:

• Difficulty breathing

• Chest and muscle pains

• Feeling faint, dazed or lightheaded

• Sleeping too much or too little

• Stomachaches or headaches

• Anger, feeling edgy or lashing out at others.

• Overwhelming sadness

• Preoccupied on negative things that could have happened.

• Worrying a lot of the time; feeling guilty but not sure why

• Feeling like you have to keep busy

• Lack of energy or always feeling tired

• Drinking alcohol, smoking or using tobacco more than usual; using illegal drugs

• Eating too much or too little

• Not connecting with others

Members of the public are encouraged to look out for these warning signs in family and friends, but to also monitor themselves and seek medical attention as necessary.

To minimize the effects of stress, anxiety and depression persons are encouraged to:

• Reach out to friends and family.

• Encourage others to remain safe

• Get enough adequate sleep.

• Re-establish and return to a routine, when it is safe to do so

• Know when to ask for help.

Signs of stress can be normal, short-term reactions to any of life’s unexpected events—not only after surviving a disaster.

It’s important to pay attention to what’s going on with you or with someone you care about, because what may seem like “everyday stress” can be: depression (including the thoughts of suicide), anxiety, or alcohol/drug abuse.

Members of the public are encouraged to call the 24 hours, seven days/week Free Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Helpline 888-NEW LIFE (888-639-5433).

Persons 16-24 years old can reached the U-MATTER Chatline by messaging the word SUPPORT to 876-838-4897 on WhatsApp and SMS (free for Flow customers); or @ureportjamaica on Facebook Messenger.

Last Updated: October 31, 2023

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