DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Doctors at Wright State University are offering free psychological first-aid for people impacted by the tornadoes. Those services are designed to get people professional counseling to cope with trauma.

Dr. Jeremy Schumm says most people experience trauma after a disaster, but too often it’s suppressed. He says it’s best to get a screening now, because symptoms don’t always appear right away. “Things like interfering with relationships, relationships with spouses or family members, difficulty with your parenting, difficulty going back to work.”

Dr. Schumm says most people who live through a disaster will experience traumatic symptoms. He says the vast majority recover naturally, but not everyone. “The estimates are between 5-10% of people may have symptoms that are starting to interfere with their day-to-day functioning,”

To help people cope, Wright State is offering free walk-in services on Mondays and Tuesdays from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. through June 25. Dr. Schumm says it’s important for anyone concerned about themselves or anyone else to reach out now, rather than waiting or suppressing their feelings. “Sometimes people will have delayed reactions. They’re so immersed in trying to meet basic needs early on that they don’t have these symptoms.”

Dr. Schumm says people should try to open up about their experiences even if they don’t see a professional. “Talk to people they feel comfortable with, whether that’s family members, friends, just share how they’re thinking and how they’re feeling. Just be open and supportive of each other. We know that type of social support is one of the biggest predictors of recovery.”

If the need for these services extends beyond June 25, Wright State wants to make sure you get what you need. Anyone requiring longer-term counseling can call the Ellis Human Development Institute to make accommodations.

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