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- Dear Hawai‘i Island Families
- Managing stress during and after a crisis
- Caring for keiki
- Caring for kupuna
- Finding calm in a sea of chaos
Dear Hawai‘i Island Families,
Our Child & Family Service (CFS) community is working together on relief efforts, large and small. Like many of you, some of our staff members have lost homes and the life they knew. We understand the frustration, stress and helpless feelings that can come from an uncertain future.
With all the talk about the physical destruction of the volcano, it’s easy to forget that the emotional effects caused by the eruption are equally traumatizing – and normal. They can take time to process. And sometimes, the trauma from these events can be too much to manage alone.
This resource and relief guide includes information that can help you identify the effects of emotional trauma on your children, your kupuna – and yourself. More importantly, if you spot these signs, we encourage you to call for support.
The Parent Line is a free, one-stop resource to aid in the emotional recovery of your family, operated by CFS. Call toll-free at 1-800-816-1222, Mon – Fri, 8am – 6pm and Sat, 9am – 1pm.
You can also call the CFS Relief Line at 808-961-5166,
Mon – Fri, 8:30am – 5pm.
Together, we can be stronger.
There’s stress – and then there’s chronic stress that can cause harm to your body – and your loved ones. Know what you can handle – and when to ask for help.
5 signs of chronic stress
- Inability to concentrate, memory problems, fretting, poor judgement.
- Feeling overwhelmed, depressed, fearful.
- Nausea, diarrhea, chest pains and rapid heart rate.
- Inability to sleep, nervous habits, desire to withdraw.
- Anger, moodiness, domestic violence or family abuse.
5 ways to help you cope
- Reach out to your support network and talk it out.
- Reestablish a sense of normalcy and routine to help you regain a feeling of control.
- Volunteer. Minister. Provide aid. Showing aloha to others is one of the most therapeutic ways you can help yourself.
- Get physical. If you feel pent up, get out and do stuff.
- Worried about lashing out or breaking down? Call the Parent Line. 1-800-816-1222, Mon – Fri, 8 am – 6 pm & Sat, 9 am – 1 pm.
Could you have PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can affect anyone who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster. Do you feel disconnected, unbalanced, have nightmares, or just feel numb? If these feelings don’t pass, or if they resurface later, call us.
You don’t have to be a superhero to help your child. Children and teens often find it difficult to talk about their anxiety, so they need you to spot the signs.
5 signs your child needs your help
- Attitude changes such as irritability and moodiness, unusual temper, on edge or “acting out.”
- Withdrawing from previously liked activities, and from interaction with family and friends.
- Sleeping too much, or not being able to sleep.
- Feeling sick all the time, having headaches.
- Crying, clinging, not wanting to be alone or separated from you.
5 ways to make them feel safe
- Re-establish a sense of normalcy and routine, such as a regular schedule for meals, homework, and bedtime.
- Talk with your child about how you will move forward. By involving your child in the planning, they regain a sense of control.
- Talk with your child about his/her feelings. Share your feelings too, so they know their reactions are normal.
- Hug your child often and reassure them you are safe and together. Spend extra one-on-one time at bedtime or on activities.
- Minimize media exposure for younger children. Be aware of anxiety-provoking post-trauma media coverage.
Call the Parent Line, toll free at 1-800-816-1222
Monday – Friday: 8 am – 6 pm, Saturday: 9 am – 1 pm
Elderly friends and relatives may feel especially vulnerable during this time of crisis, and some may experience a strong desire to withdraw from others.
3 ways to offer comfort
- Talking provides healing. Talking story eases loneliness and gives the elderly courage to reveal how they feel.
- Encourage kupuna to ask for help. Research shows that people who ask for help come through crises stronger and healthier than those who view seeking help as a weakness.
- Assist with medicines and care. Help kupuna remember their medicines and receive medical care that they forget or neglect.
You can’t control the situation.
But you can control your emotions. Here are some techniques professionals use to reduce stress and improve physical and mental health.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Reduce tension, pulse rate, blood pressure and decrease perspiration and respiration rates.
- Sit in a relaxed position, eyes closed. Breathe naturally.
- Clench fists so that your arms feel tense. Ease your tension as you breathe out.
- Do the same with your lower legs, thighs, trunk, stomach, back and head. End with your whole body.
- After a few rounds, don’t tense first, just relax.
- Feel heavy, then relaxed.
- You can add visualization to this technique.
Stress causes us to tense up and breathe poorly. As a result, less oxygen reaches our bloodstream and our heart rate goes up.
This technique teaches you to counteract stress.
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Take deep from your diaphragm, measured breaths, slowly.
- Inhale slowly 2 – 4 seconds through the nose.
- Exhale slowly 4 – 8 seconds through the mouth.
- Pause for 4 seconds.
- Repeat as needed.
Use the power of your imagination to refocus your mind to transport you to a calming, healing environment.
- Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes.
- Imagine a place that feels serene and safe, perhaps in nature, a cozy room, or a place in your imagination. Involve as many of your senses as possible. What do you see, smell, hear, feel, taste?
- You can be active (walking on a beach) or just resting in your imaginary spot.
- Develop the details of this place and mentally return there in times of stress.
- As your mind relaxes, your body will follow.
Resources at a glance
Child & Family Service
CFS Relief Line: 808.961.5166, Mon – Fri, 8:30am – 5pm.
CFS Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7, 365 days a year)
West Hawai‘i: 808.322.7233
East Hawai‘i: 808.959.8864
CFS also offers free assistance to individuals and families in need, with programs for children and parents, domestic abuse shelters and prevention, drug intervention, health maintenance, and crisis support.
CFS Development & Communications Office: 808.543.8413
Mon – Fri, 8am – 5pm.
The Parent Line
Call toll free at 1-800-816-1222
Monday – Friday: 8 am – 6 pm, Saturday: 9 am – 1 pm
Child & Family Service (CFS) administers The Parent Line, a free statewide confidential telephone line funded by the Hawaii State Department of Health. Experienced phone line staff help parents to problem solve parenting challenges and child adolescent behavior and are available to help parents learn ways to manage the strong emotions that come with trauma.
SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
Or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
A 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.