Ottawa Public Health warning about mental health issues after the storm

Health officials are concerned the victims of the storm have not yet realized the toll it’s taken on them. The victims and the volunteers have been going non-stop since the tornadoes hit the capital region on Friday evening. Many just going through the motions, trying to distract themselves to deal with the stress. 

Ottawa Public Health explained that the stress may soon catch up with people and they are asking you to check in on friends and family affected by the storm. 

Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, Doctor Vera Etches, explained that there are some tell-tale signs.  “Family members might notice somebody’s more irritable, angry outbursts, not interested in doing the same kinds of things they used to like to do, feeling down and unmotivated,” she said. “These are the signs it’d be good to access more support. A psychologist, a family doctor, a social worker.”

The province has sent in their Emergency Medical Assistance Team. Dr. Etches said that the team with join up with Ottawa Public Health and the city to address mental health needs. 

“That team is on the ground planning and will be adding mental health crisis counselling expertise.” 

Dr. Etches also suggested checking in on children who may be affected by the storm. 

She explained that children may be feeling scared.  “Parents may notice their children are not sleeping well, maybe they’re more irritable, maybe they have headaches or stomach aches,” she explained. “These are signs that a child needs more reassurance, physical comfort, a space where they can actually know that their feelings are ok.” 

For more information about mental health services in Ottawa you can call 311.