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Let it go! Social worker warns against post-hurricane stress

Dr Sylvia Simmons (File photo)

Claiming that a number of persons are severely stressed because of properties lost during Hurricane Irma, social worker Dr Sylvia is urging them to not only seek professional help to let go of the pain but to remember material possessions can be replaced.

“What we find is a lot of people are finding difficulty in releasing these things. People are consumed with the depression and looking at their enormous loss and in their minds, ‘how am I going to rebuild?’” said Dr Simmons.

“Stress does kill and it will kill people fast.”

The social worker, who is also executive director of local charity organization, Family Support Network, is advising persons lamenting their losses to focus instead on the fact that they still have life.

“Yes, you lost your roof or your house, or your car or your clothing; some people lost everything. But, you have to still step back and say ‘at least I still have my life’. At the end of the day, all these other material stuff can be replaced, but life cannot be replaced, once it’s gone it’s gone,” she reasoned.

She is also urging those finding it difficult to cope to seek counseling and stay strong for their children.

“A lot of the times kids need their parents to be there for them, love them and to spend time with them, let them know that we don’t have all the things that we once had, but we are here for you. Those are the things that they need to hear from their parents so they can have a better perspective on what they value.”

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the territory on September 6, causing widespread destruction to homes and properties. Two months later, there are still persons living in shelters.

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9 Comments

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  1. Richard Morrison says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    Well said that Lady!!!!!

    Material possessions are of little importance, having love, friendship and gratitude is what really matters, in my humble opinion.

  2. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    True, though it is sound advice for residents to move on, it is not that easy. People are not like machines that if you turn off the switch, the machine will sit there until the switch is turn on again. People do not behave that way. Each person that incurred a loss will embrace and process the loss differently. Some will process the loss and move on and others will linger and stress on the loss. It will take time to adjust. Residents need our understanding and support.

    • I agree says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

      I agree. We do need to be understanding as a community. Some people lost things of sentimental value. Do not just write off the hard work and sacrifice some may have had to put in just to get what they had only to lose it all. Yes life is more important but if they cannot do for themselves to meet their basic needs and if they have nothing around to relieve some of the stress, who will? Definitely not that useless government. Please feed solutions… Some things are easier said than done. To those who lost, I sympathise with you. God is in control and will never put more on you than you can bear so if you are going through it, it is because God knows that you can take it. Some things may not make sense right now but later down the road it will all add up…I’m speaking from experience!

  3. Huh says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Whatever!!! Let me see you let go of your material things bet you won’t but then again you don’t have to either, talk is cheap smh

  4. Sue says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Correction – she’s a social worker not psychologist. Please review her credentials.

  5. Bob says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    just curious………was this Dr. on island during the 2 hurricanes. Has she been on island after the hurricanes. I’m just saying that, if you haven’t experienced something personally, it’s all well & good to tell others how to react/respond but?????

  6. Black says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    They can say that because insurance will cover all that have lost what about people who loss everything in there home and they vechicle in third party

    • @Black says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      And whose fault is it that some are properly insured while others are not. Many who received homes thru gift has done nothing to protect that gift and now it is all gone. Whose fault? We get to make choices b we dont get to choose consequences.

  7. gwen says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    There is a difference between grief and mourning. Victims of the hurricane has experienced an emotional reaction to their loss, which is the grief they feel. the after math is how they deal with the loss, which is mourning.
    Its easy for one who has not experienced grief to tell others to get over it. Yes, they are alive, and have lost material things. Some material things can never be replaced. I suggest this Doctor, social worker put her money where her mouth is and reach out to the survivors by volunteering her services by giving free psychological services.
    I am a licensed clinical social worker.

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