Healing from Trauma After a Natural Disaster

In recent weeks, Butte County has seen what natural disasters can do to the lives, livelihood, and well-being of entire communities. The Camp Fire has devastated human lives, homes, and businesses, and is the deadliest wildland fire in the history of California. We at Therapeutic Solutions have been saddened to witness the impacts this disaster has had on members of our community.

Given the heavy and multifaceted toll this catastrophic fire has taken on people in Chico, Paradise, and other communities in the Sierra Nevada foothills, there are likely to be lingering mental health consequences for survivors and those who support them. Persons affected by the fire (as well as those who are closely connected to the damage) may begin to experience post-traumatic stress and other mental and emotional reactions to trauma in the days, weeks, and months to come. In times like these, reaching out for mental health support may be an important step toward long-term recovery.

Symptoms of Mental and Emotional Trauma

If you or someone you love has been affected by a natural disaster like the recent wildfires in Butte County or the surrounding areas, watch out for the following potential signs of post-traumatic stress:

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Changes in personality
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Depression
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Flashbacks that involve vivid memories and physical distress, including quickened heartbeat, shaking, sweating, etc.
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Intense, unpredictable mood swings
  • New aches and pains
  • Nightmares
  • Social withdrawal

People who are involved in traumatizing events such as wildfires might not begin to recognize the above symptoms right away. Sometimes it can take weeks for symptoms to set in or produce negative, notable consequences in the lives of affected persons. It is important to remember that these symptoms are legitimate responses to traumatic experiences that require compassionate and supportive intervention.

What Causes Mental and Emotional Trauma After Natural Disasters

Many people are traumatized by natural disasters due to the major life changes they endure through the devastation of property and human and animal life. Many throughout North State have lost loved ones in the recent Camp Fire. Others have permanently lost their homes and livelihoods, forcing them into new life conditions they did not want or anticipate. A large number of those affected will feel the direct short and long-term emotional impacts of these changes, which may include grief, anger, regret, and other overwhelming emotions.

In addition to the direct impacts of grief and loss, people who have survived the recent fires in Northern California may also experience mental and emotional trauma related to the following, even if they have not lost property or loved ones:

  • A sense of helplessness
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Conflict regarding worldview and shifts in existential perspective
  • Denial or numbness
  • Survivor’s guilt

Trauma Therapy & Mental Health Care in Chico & Butte County

At Therapeutic Solutions, we can provide compassionate guidance and mental health care for people who have been affected by crises such as the Camp Fire. We treat adults and adolescents who experience varying kinds of emotional trauma, including depression, anxiety, grief, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and more. We provide high-quality care in a comfortable, safe environment, and all of our programs are focused on helping people like you achieve whole-person wellness and stability. If you or someone you love is experiencing a behavioral health crisis in the aftermath of the recent wildfires or other natural disasters, we are prepared to provide empathetic and effective mental health care.

Our hearts are with our North State community members and neighbors who have suffered as a result of the Camp Fire. We are with you, and we are here to help.

Call (530) 899-3150 today to speak to a member of our team and request an assessment.