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Red Cross Tips for Coping with Tragedy


The hearts and minds of the American Red Cross in Colorado and across the country are focused on those that have been impacted by the tragedy that occurred in Colorado Springs, Friday, November 27, 2015. We have remained in contact with a variety of local, state and federal support agencies and advised them of the support services available from the Red Cross. We know this is difficult for everyone whether they were affected directly or indirectly. We also know that we all process trauma and acts of violence differently. Below you will find some tips that may help you cope with this situation. 

To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746. 

Please seek immediate help if you or someone you know is feeling that life isn’t worth living or if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others.

You can also contact the Disaster Distress Hotline, sponsored by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, by calling 800-985-5990.

Coping tips that may be helpful

When we experience trauma or other stressful life event, we can have a variety of reactions, all of which can be common responses to difficult situations.

These reactions can include:

• Feeling physically and mentally drained

• Having difficulty making decisions or staying focused on topics

• Becoming easily frustrated on a more frequent basis

• Arguing more with family and friends

• Feeling tired, sad, numb, lonely or worried

• Experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns

Most of these reactions are temporary and will go away over time. Try to accept whatever reactions you may have. Look for ways to take one step at a time and focus on taking care of your disaster-related needs and those of your family.

Keep a particularly close eye on the children in your family. A child's view of the world as a safe and predictable place is temporarily lost. Children of different ages react in different ways to trauma, but how parents and other adults react following any traumatic event can help children recover more quickly and more completely.

Recovery Takes Time

Getting ourselves and our lives back in a routine that is comfortable for us takes time.

• Take care of your safety. Find a safe place to stay and make sure your physical health needs and those of your family are addressed. Seek medical attention if necessary.

• Limit your exposure to the sights and sounds of disaster, especially on television, the radio and in the newspapers.

• Eat healthy. During times of stress, it is important that you maintain a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.

• Get some rest. Giving your body and mind a break can boost your ability to cope with the stress you may be experiencing.

• Stay connected with family and friends. Giving and getting support is one of the most important things you can do. Try to do something as a family that you have all enjoyed in the past.

• Be patient with yourself and with those around you. Recognize that everyone is stressed and may need some time to put their feelings and thoughts in order. That includes you!

• Set priorities. Tackle tasks in small steps.

• Stay positive. Remind yourself of how you’ve successfully gotten through difficult times in the past. Reach out when you need support, and help others when they need it.