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HSE warns of floods flashbacks and distress 28.08.17

THE Health Service Executive (HSE) is distributing an information leaflet highlighting the signs of distress and trauma that could affect people hit by last week's freak floods in Inishowen.
As families nationwide make final back-to-school preparations, some people in parts of the peninsula, including Muff and Burnfoot, have seen their normal lives destroyed by the once-in-a-century weather event.
While schools appear to have escaped the damage, parents, teachers and guardians are being urged in particular to monitor the wellbeing of young people affected by the crisis.
The HSE has begun distributing leaflets entitled 'Coping with Flooding' and has opened a helpline for families ‘overwhelmed’ by the unprecedented level of disruption and displacement to their lives.
The agency said the flooding that hit north Donegal on Tuesday evening was “very shocking”. As a result, it said people directly affected would likely feel distressed and emotional and suffer a range of reactions including disbelief, anxiety, flashbacks and anger.
The HSE also urged parents via its information pamphlet, to look out for signs of trauma and distress in their children and young teenagers.
“Similar to adults, children can also be upset following a flood. They may be frightened by the flood itself, or be upset by disruptions that it might cause in their daily routines.
“It is not unusual for children to show changes in behaviours such as becoming more easily upset, getting angry, being afraid to sleep alone, difficulty separating from parents, behaving as they did when they were younger, for example, thumb-sucking, bedwetting,” the guidelines state.
“They may also want to continue talking about the flood and show flood themes in their play. Younger children may also feel guilty that they ‘caused’ the flood because of some previous behaviour.” The HSE’s intervention comes as communities throughout Inishowen continue to rally in support of friends, relatives and neighbours. Several fundraisers have already taken place while a number of charity shops have been operating as drop-off depots for much-needed clothing, bedding and furniture. Meanwhile, Buncrana GAA held an ‘Open House’ yesterday providing community outreach as well as food, support and laundry facilities to those in need. The HSE Floods Helpline for Donegal is 074 91 67558.
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