Patti Wenzel
After the flood

resources for Milwaukee

By - Jul 28th, 2010 02:53 pm
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Photo from Flickr Creative Commons, by Victor Bezrukov

After the skies opened up and sewers overflowed last week many of our neighbors are dealing with the Herculean task of cleaning up their homes and lives. It’s no wonder that tempers are flaring or people are shutting down with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.

If you, a friend or family member is suffering from stress, anxiety and fatigue from the cleanup or the uncertainty of when help will come, Scott Walker, along with the county’s Emergency Management Division and the Department of Health and Human Services have activated the Disaster Mental Health Task Force.

“The recent flood has been devastating for thousands of people in Milwaukee County, particularly those who are the most vulnerable in our community,” Walker said. “It is absolutely essential, in time of a disaster of this magnitude, that we recognize the need to support individuals in our community who are experiencing stress due to trauma, loss or relocation.”

County officials are asking everyone of us to look after our neighbors and if the following symptoms of PTSD are present to seek medical attention.

In children: a general overall fear; separation anxiety; an inability to sleep; a change in eating habit; fear of leaving the house or going outside; and irritability or isolation.

Adults should look for physical manifestations of stress; excessive smoking, eating or drinking alcohol; physical exhaustion to the point where someone cannot deal with daily functions; anxiety agitation, difficulty concentrating or over load; and trouble sleeping.

People are urged to either contact personal physician or employee assistance programs, if offered by your job.

If you are uninsured, disabled, mentally ill or elderly persons can contact the following agencies for services:

  • BHD Adult Mental Health Crisis Line: 414-257-7222
  • BHD Child Mental Health Crisis Line:  414-257-7621
  • Disability Resource Center (individuals and families with physical or developmental disabilities): 414-289-6660
  • Aging Resource Center (age 60 and up): 414-289-6874
  • Warm Line-Consumer Mental Health Support Line: 414-777-4729
  • For more information on mental health services click here.

The Health and Human Services Department continues to hand out free “Flood Clean-up Kits” to anyone who needs one. They are urging residents who had water and/or sewage in their homes to discard everything that came in contact with the water and for scavengers to not take items left on the curbs, to decrease the chance of water-borne illnesses from spreading. For more tips on how to clean up after the storm, the Milwaukee Health Department has put out a checklist of tips.

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