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Helping People With Post-Sandy Stress [AUDIO]

With hurricane season set to begin June 1, New Jersey officials are hosting a roundtable discussion Wednesday with physicians in Red Bank to help raise awareness about post-Sandy stress, and the need to screen and treat residents adversely affected by the storm.

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Man Stressed Over Money
(Cheryl Casey, ThinkStock)

“The fact that we are re-entering hurricane season could actually be a stress or a trigger for some families that are still going through and dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,” said New Jersey health commissioner Mary O’Dowd.

She pointed out the psychological effects of going through a disaster can last for years.

“It can exacerbate diseases that already existed, it can cause fatigue and exhaustion, and it can really cause depression or other behavioral health or substance abuse challenges,” O’Dowd said.

The commissioner said the state Health Department has been working cooperatively with the Department of Human Services and the Department of Children and Families to try and provide resources for individuals to cope with all of these challenges.

“Last month, the Department of Health provided funding to health care providers in the impacted communities so that they could appropriately and routinely screen their patients,” O’Dowd said. “It’s important for health care providers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of stress so they can appropriately screen their patients and make sure they’re referred to appropriate resources.”

O’Dowd said doctors and nurses can be effective partners in making sure the community gets the support and resources that are needed.

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