The Waldo Canyon fire was traumatic for many community members, and those memories can make the Black Forest fire have an even stronger impact emotionally and psychologically. For many of us, this is a profoundly stressful and frightening time, even if you're not directly affected.
- Be as patient and compassionate as you can with family, friends, and yourself.
- Spend time talking with good friends, clergy or counselors. We all need to process stressful events, and talking or writing about them in a journal, for example, can be very helpful.
- Eat well, rest when you can, get and give hugs, and try to get some exercise. Take a few moments to breathe deeply.
- Kids' number one need is to be and feel safe. Reassure them that lots of people are helping and protecting us. Point out all the firefighters, police, soldiers and others that are here to help. Model calm for them.
- Spend some extra time with your kids, your presence is reassuring. Kids may act younger than they are or be more "clingy." Give them some extra love - it's good for both them and you.
- Try to maintain the usual rhythms of life - structure is important to kids, especially younger ones - but, as always, be flexible. Be honest, but keep explanations simple and developmentally appropriate.
- If kids want to help, find ways to help them do so. Have them draw a picture for the local firefighters, drop off some food together at a food bank, make a donation on-line, or simply pray or think positive thoughts for the families who are affected. Action creates a sense of control and that is helpful.
- Be very careful with your media diet. It's great to be informed, but watching scary or anxiety-provoking images will likely make you more stressed.
- Children or adults who have a past history of traumatic events can be at higher risk for strong reactions. If you or someone you care about has reactions that you feel put them or others at risk, get some professional help or even call 911 if it's urgent.
- Times of crisis can be opportunities to really look at what is important in our lives. See this as an opportunity to reconnect to a sense of spirituality or spend some time reflecting on life.
- The local mental health crisis line is 719-635-7000
- Memorial is here, as we always have been, to help you and your family during this and other times of need.
Rev. Nathan Mesnikoff
Director of Spiritual Care
About Memorial Hospital:
Memorial Hospital, now part of University of Colorado Health, has been part of the Colorado Springs community since 1904. Memorial has two hospitals, Memorial Hospital Central and Memorial Hospital North, and more than a dozen facilities throughout the Pikes Peak Region. University of Colorado Health is a Front Range health system that delivers the highest quality patient care with the highest quality patient experience. University of Colorado Health combines Memorial Hospital, Poudre Valley Hospital, Medical Center of the Rockies, (formerly Poudre Valley Medical Group), and University of Colorado Hospital into an organization dedicated to building a healthier community and providing unmatched patient care in the Rocky Mountain West. Separately, these institutions can continue providing superior care to patients and service to the communities they serve. Together, they push the boundaries of medicine, attracting more research funding, hosting more clinical trials and improving health through innovation.