Emotional toll on tornado victims continues

Now that much of the physical damage is cleared, people are left to deal with the emotional trauma after tornados hit nearly three weeks ago.

As they search through piles of physical loss where their homes once were, emotional pain is taking a toll on tornado victims.

Feelings of loss and hurt, which affect people mentally, can linger for the rest of their lives.

It is the healing process after basic needs are met that can be the most difficult.

"Appalachians are kind of a tough crew, and it's important to realize that we're healing on the inside as well as the outside," said Tammy Ball, a clinical social worker in Paintsville.

Fear, anger, grief, and confusion are all normal aftereffects of something as traumatic as a tornado.

"The feelings that you're going through are normal, so don't label yourself as crazy. Just try to get as much rest as you can and keep your schedule as close as possible and realize that others are healing as well," said Ball.

Even those seemingly unaffected by the damage are coping with what is left of their communities.

"In Eastern Kentucky especially, we are all kind of close knit, so when something happens to your neighbor, you kind of feel those effects and you take them on personally," said Janet Prater, who is also a clinical social worker.

Coming together after homes were torn apart is the best way to deal with what impacted everyone in some way.

Peace of Mind Therapeutic Services in Paintsville is offering a free support group on Tuesday nights at six for anyone affected by the tornado outbreak.


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