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Helping Employees Cope with a Natural Disaster

Some steps you can take to help employees cope:

  1. Acknowledge the event as tragic and, at this point in time, perhaps ongoing.
  2. Provide those employees who are affected with an opportunity to talk about their fear, horror, helplessness and grief.
  3. Allow them to talk about what they saw, felt, and experienced, including physical reactions in response to this tragic event (such as nausea, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite).
  4. Let employees know that it is completely normal to be experiencing such a wide range of reactions in response to this event.
  5. Encourage employees to do all that they need to do to feel safe, while at the same time acknowledging and talking about the traumatic nature of the event.
  6. Remind employees to work towards normalizing and focusing on their daily experience as much as possible – eating regular meals, getting periods of rest and reducing the amount and frequency of mentally demanding tasks.
  7. Encourage employees to stay in close contact with loved ones, and keep close communication with their children.
  8. Provide employees with written information acknowledging the nature of the event, and what kind of services may be available to help them.
  9. Encourage employees to call, as needed, and speak with an EAP counselor.
  10. Provide written information, in the form of handouts, concerning what they can do to help themselves and one another cope and recover from the traumatic impact of this event.

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