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April 10, 2019

Feelings such as fear, anxiety, and sadness can return on disaster anniversary dates  

Panama City, Fla.— The Florida Department of Health in Bay County is reminding residents to take care of their mental health. The six-month anniversary of Hurricane Michael may renew symptoms of emotional distress in disaster survivors. These feelings can include fear, anxiety, and sadness, and are completely normal.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers some advice to help you or a loved one cope with renewed stress.

  • First, be aware that anniversary dates may be difficult.
  • Show yourself the same kindness and patience you give others.
  • Allow yourself to feel angry or sad.
  • Make sure you participate in activities you enjoy. These outlets will help to improve your emotional health.
  • Talk about your losses since the disaster, if you can do so. Share this with someone you trust like a friend or health care provider.
  • Accept support from family and friends.
  • For some people, being able to volunteer to help others is a healthy way to heal.

The Florida Department of Health has a free Disaster Stress flier available for download. You can print this out for personal use or even share at your business, place of worship, or educational institution. Files can be found using this link:

The Disaster Distress Helpline is available for those who need help. Just call 1-800-985-5990 or Text TalkWithUs to 66746. For information on mental health resources in Bay County, visit or call United Way’s 211 or visit online at


About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit