Coping in the Aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

University of Maryland Counseling Center

We are aware of many members the University of Maryland community whose family and friends have been impacted by the devastating hurricanes that destroyed communities in Houston, Florida and entire islands in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico.

Communication systems are not functional in many of these areas making it difficult for family and friends to check on the welfare of their loved ones. The emotional reactions to this stressful life event can be overwhelming. Common feelings and reactions include anxiety, excessive worry, insomnia, sadness, helplessness, and anger.

Following are a few strategies for managing difficult feelings and reactions.

  • Acknowledge that feelings being triggered are normal reactions.
  • Reduce the time spent engaged in activities that trigger negative responses (watching media coverage, reading news articles/blogs on the subject, etc.).
  • Connect and seek support from those you trust.
  • Tell others what you need; ask for help.
  • Engage in self-soothing activities.
  • Take a break.
  • Exercise; go for a walk, swim, etc.
  • Avoid self-medicating with junk food, drugs or alcohol.
  • Pray or meditate.
  • Seek support from religious or spiritual communities.
  • Eat regular meals.
  • Seek support from a counselor if you continue to feel distressed.
  • Participate directly or indirectly in relief efforts.

The Counseling Center is offering unscheduled drop-in services for those in the UMD community who are in urgent need and who may benefit from speaking with one of our counselors.

Our “warmline” (301) 314-7651 also is available for University parents, faculty and staff for consultation with a counselor regarding how to help students in distress.