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Stress Information

The Colorado Springs community and the students and staff of Colorado College have experienced ongoing stress for the past week from the Waldo Canyon Fire.  Evacuations, loss of property and threats to life and property have been in our thoughts.

The following are some tips and information gathered from the American Red Cross, the American Psychological Association, and SAMHSA about stress related to disasters.

These are normal emotional reactions to disasters and threatening events. Everyone responds to stressful events somewhat differently:

  • There is often an initial reaction of denial and disbelief.
  • Extended periods of worry and fearfulness take a physical and emotional toll on people who are directly affected by the fire and people who are observing and feel threatened.
  • This anxiety can cause a number of stress related symptoms including sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness and becoming intensely emotional.
  • These feelings often continue after the actual threat has diminished.
  • These feelings are often accompanied by thoughts of exaggerated fears which can be generalized to other situations.
  • A delayed emotional reaction often occurs after the threat is decreased.

Helpful things you can do to recover from stressful events include:

  • Get rest and maintain healthy eating and exercising.
  • Share your feelings and experiences with others close to you.
  • Take a break from constantly monitoring TV, internet and 24/7 coverage of the fire.
  • Find a positive action that you can do to positively impact the situation.
  • Talk to a mental health professional.

For students of Colorado College, the Counseling Center is available at 719-389-6093.  If you have an urgent need to talk to a counselor, call Campus Safety at 719-389-6707 and ask to talk to the counselor on call.

More information can be found at these websites:

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-chronic-stress.aspx

http://www.redcross.org/www-files/Documents/pdf/domestic%20programs/mental_health_tips.pdf

http://www.samhsa.gov/trauma/