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AFTER THE FLAMES: ADVICE & HOTLINE FOR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT, 800-854-7771

 LOS ANGELES, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- People emotionally impacted by the fires in Los Angeles County can call 800-854-7771, a toll-free hotline for information and referral. Those calling will be ensured of being answered by trained professionals who are good listeners.
 "In times of crisis, people suffer from anxiety, feelings of vulnerability, irritability and confusion," said Barbara Cienfuegos, disaster coordinator for LAC Department of Mental Health. "These people need a sympathetic listener. By calling 800-854-7771, they'll receive the attention and information they need."
 Disasters, such as the Altadena fires, can draw families together. Or, they can tear families apart. Family members should be on the alert for increased irritability, arguments and family discord. Children may tend to cling, act out, or regress in behavior. Individuals may feel exhausted by coping. Substances abuse, decreased intimacy, and increased domestic violence are common.
 "In some instances," said Linda Boyd, R.N., "people react to disaster stressors by becoming ill. The emotional wear and tear is manifested as physical problems, including headaches, stomach upsets and aches and pains. Grieving over loss -- including loss of material possessions -- is a normal reaction to abnormal events."
 Families can adopt the following coping strategies:
 -- Talk about the event. Encourage family members to describe what they saw, heard, thought, smelled and felt.
 -- Be supportive of each other, acknowledging the hurt, pain and sense of loss you feel.
 -- Allow family members to heal at their own pace. It does take time.
 -- Give and ask for support from family, friends and the community.
 -- Be flexible with roles and chores.
 -- Remember that you are not alone.
 -0- 10/28/93
 /CONTACT: Kimi Mann, 310-492-9796, or after 6 p.m., 213-258-1563/


CO: Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health ST: California IN: HEA SU:

LM-TM -- LA050 -- 8273 10/28/93 20:18 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 28, 1993
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