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Stressful Times in Baltimore

The city of Baltimore is experiencing a difficult time. In the aftermath of the funeral of Freddie Gray, violence and the destruction of property occurred in parts of the city. The media has been showing constant coverage of the events. It may feel like it is impossible to escape newscasts and stories and images of the event. Many of you may live in the affected area while others of us are deeply concerned.
We are saddened by the death of this young man. Many of us may feel confused, frightened and not quite sure how to respond.
During a time like this, normal reactions include different feelings, thoughts and behaviors:
Feelings may include: sadness, anger, anxiety, uncertainty, irritability, vulnerability, helplessness, shock and disbelief.
Thoughts – difficulty focusing, disbelief, overwhelmed, confusion, preoccupation, sense of uneasiness
Behaviors – difficulty sleeping, appetite disturbance (can’t eat or eat too much), absentmindedness, withdrawal, isolation, increased use of substances (alcohol or drugs) restlessness and crying.
What can I do to help my children?
Children are especially frightened when they see what is happening.
Monitor or discourage children from watching media coverage.
Allow them to voice their fears.
Assure them that you will keep them safe.

What can I do to help myself?
Sharing your feelings but limit discussions in which you give your opinion for not everyone may feel the same.
Be a compassionate listener
Identify positive stress relievers – i.e. exercise, prayer, volunteering, etc.
Disconnect or limit media exposure about the disturbance for a time

In situations like this, the number one priority is safety for you and your family. If possible, avoid all areas where the disturbances are taking place. Here are some basic safety tips:
• Stay calm and keep your emotions in check
• Avoid confrontation
• Walk slowly and move away from the crowd as soon as you can
• Move to a safe, enclosed area whenever you are able
• If you live in an area where there is a disturbance, keep away from windows and doors and lock them
• If at all possible, plan an escape from the area
Remember your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to you. Experienced counselors can offer support and structure to help individuals and groups talk about the issues. Feel free to call us at 667.214.1555 to schedule an appointment.