STATEWIDE — Hurricane Harvey has done more damage than the devastation you see in Houston and the Gulf Coast. It has done a number to survivors’ peace of mind.
"That immediacy of it, like they weren't expecting it, that could be the difference,” explained psychiatrist Dr. Deepak Davidson.
For thousands of Texans flooded out of their homes, losing their place is more than just a physical problem.
"They have very natural reactions to what was an unnatural event,” said mental health expert Dr. Kathleen Casey. “They can experience lots of symptoms of emotional distress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased or decreased appetite, irritability, fatigue."
It’s a time of stress and uncertainty.
"With a lot of questions as to the welfare of their other friends or family, sometimes they don't have information on whether the place they live is intact,” Casey added. “This is understandably very distressing."
Recovery will be a long and painful process for survivors - physically, emotionally and mentally. Now, imagine if you're an emergency responder.
"It's a dual trauma situation,” Foundation 1023 board member Cindy Present. “So, not only are they dealing with the stress and the PTS of the moment of helping their community and helping the people they need to help, they're also part of that community."
It's an added burden during what's already a stressful situation.
"Many of them have also suffered their own personal loss, whether it's their homes, their neighborhoods, their communities, maybe a peer, maybe a family member," Present said.
Mental health experts say, at a time like this, it's okay to give yourself time.
"One of the most problematic things that anyone can do is to pressure someone to speak in detail about what they've just been through, any traumatic event, before they're ready," Casey explained. "What is really needed is non-judgmental listening, to offer support."
Because starting over means rebuilding and recovery on many levels.
"Take it day by day,” Davidson said. “Make sure you're taking care of yourself and then your loved ones."
You don't have to be a mental health professional to provide counseling. Integral Care provides "mental health first aid" training in times of emergencies.