Disaster Updates

Hurricane Ida Update, 8/30/21

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health operates 12 programs throughout the state, including several in southern Mississippi. At this time, all individuals served in DMH programs are reported safe and sheltering in place. The most recent updates for these programs include:

South Mississippi State Hospital in Purvis

  • South Mississippi State Hospital is an acute psychiatric program.
  • At this time, there is no damage to report and power is still operating at the program.

Mississippi State Adolescent Center in Brookhaven

  • Mississippi Adolescent Center is a specialized center for adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Power is currently out on the campus and generators are working.

Ellisville State School in Ellisville

  • Ellisville State School is a residential program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Power is still on at this program and there are no other issues to report at this time.

South Mississippi Regional Center in Long Beach –

  • South Mississippi Regional Center (SMRC) is a residential program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • The SMRC campus lost power this morning at approximately 8:15 a.m. Maintenance staff worked to ensure all generators on the campus were operating, and power was restored by approximately 11 a.m.
  • SMRC also operates group homes in the local community, and residents at these homes have been temporarily moved to the campus.
  • Other issues on the SMRC campus include trees down and roof leaks on campus buildings. 

Specialized Treatment Facility in Gulfport

  • Specialized Treatment Facility is a psychiatric residential treatment facility for adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18.
  • Power is still on at this program and there are no other issues to report at this time.

Mississippi State Hospital in Whitfield 

  • Mississippi State Hospital (MSH) is a psychiatric program that offers acute care, continued treatment services, substance use disorder services, and nursing home services.
  • MSH has not reported any issues related to Hurricane Ida, but 10 patients from the Gulfport Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) arrived at the hospital on Saturday and are being served by seven staff members from the CSU.

Coping with Disaster

Mississippians should know that both adults and children/adolescents may experience emotional distress related to any human-caused or natural disasters. The following resources are available for individuals who may need information about mental health services or crisis counseling:

  • The Mississippi Department of Mental Health Helpline is available at 1-877-210-8513 and can provide information about services near you.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Helpline is 1-800-985-5990 and provides counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and provides free and confidential support for people in distress.

People feel and express their reactions to a crisis differently. Some emotional reactions include feeling nervous, helpless, fearful, or angry; feeling detached or unconcerned about others; feeling numb and unable to experience strong emotions; or becoming easily upset or agitated.

Individuals’ physical reactions may also differ following an emergency. Common reactions may include having an upset stomach or eating too much or too little; experiencing a pounding heart, rapid breathing, or sweating when thinking about a disaster; having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much.

Although everyone deals with stress at some time in his or her life, when the anxiety and depression begin to affect one’s occupational and social functioning it may be an indication of a more serious problem requiring professional help. Call the Mississippi Department of Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-210-8513 for information about services near you.

Hurricane Ida Update, 8/29/21

The DMH Central Office in Jackson will be closed to visitors on Monday, August 30, 2021 until 12 p.m. As of the evening of August 29, 2021, all individuals served in DMH programs in the coastal areas of the state are safe and sheltering in place. Updates about the DMH-operated programs will be shared and posted on the DMH web site as new information is available.

For individuals who may be in need of information about services or crisis counseling:

  • The DMH Helpline is available at 1-877-210-8513 and can provide information about services near you
  • The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline is at 1-800-985-5990 and provides counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and provides free and confidential support for people in distress

 

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Click Here to Read the State Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan

Common Reactions to a Disaster

People feel and express their reactions to a crisis differently. Some emotional reactions include:

  • Feeling very nervous, helpless, fearful or angry
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Feeling detached or unconcerned about others
  • Feeling numb and unable to experience love or joy
  • Becoming easily upset or agitated
  • Having frequent distressing dreams or memories
  • Avoiding people, places and things related to the disaster
  • Having difficulty concentrating

How people physically react to a disaster also varies. Some physical reactions include:

  • Having an upset stomach, eating too much or too little, or having gastrointestinal problems
  • Experiencing a pounding heart, rapid breathing, sweating or severe headache when thinking about the disaster
  • Having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much

Although everyone deals with stress at some time in his or her life, when the anxiety and depression begin to affect one’s occupational and social functioning it may be an indication of a more serious problem requiring professional help.

Coping Tactics

Coping Tactics for Adults

It is very important for people to take care of themselves. People often experience strong and unpleasant emotional and physical responses. With the help of family and friends, most people gradually feel better as time goes by.

There are several ways to cope with the stress a disaster:

  • Spend time with other people. Coping with stressful events is easier when people support each other.
  • Make use of available community services.
  • Create a disaster preparedness plan and emergency supplies kit.
  • Exercise, alternated with relaxation, will alleviate some of the physical reactions. Eat balanced small meals.
  • Do something that just feels good to you like taking a warm bath, taking a walk, sitting in the sun, or petting your cat or dog.
  • Keep a journal; write your way through those sleepless nights.
  • Maintain as normal a schedule as possible.

Coping Tactics for Children

What can adults do to help children cope?

  • Let them know you understand their feelings.
  • Tell them that they really are safe.
  • Keep to your usual routines.
  • Keep them from seeing too many frightening pictures of the events.
  • Educate yourself about how to talk to children of different ages about trauma.