What is Disaster Related Stress

It is common to feel stress symptoms before or after a crisis. Natural and human-caused disasters can have a devastating impact on people’s lives because they sometimes cause physical injury, damage to property, or the loss of a home or place of employment. Anyone who sees or experiences this can be affected in some way. Most stress symptoms are temporary and will resolve on their own in a fairly short amount of time. However, for some people, particularly children and teens, these symptoms may last for weeks or even months and may influence their relationships with families and friends.

Who is at Risk?

For those who have lived through a natural or human-caused disaster, the anniversary of the event may renew feelings of fear, anxiety, and sadness. Certain sounds, such as sirens, can also trigger emotional distress. These and other environmental sensations can take people right back to the disaster or cause them to fear that it’s about to happen again.

Disasters have the potential to cause emotional distress. Some people are more at risk than others:

  • Survivors living or working in the impacted areas (youth & adults)
  • First Responders and Recovery Workers
  • Women and Girls at Risk of Intimate Partner or Family Violence