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Psychiatric Disabilities - Tips


  • Think through what a rescuer might need to know about you and be prepared to say it briefly, or keep a written copy on hand. For example:

    • "I have a psychiatric disability and may become confused in an emergency. Help me find quiet corner and I should be fine in approximately 10 minutes."

    • "I have a panic disorder. If I panic, give me (name of medication and dosage) located in my (purse, wallet, pocket)."

    • "I take Lithium and my blood level needs to be checked every (hour, etc.)."



  • There are a number of emotional reactions that may occur or become more severe after a disaster. These include confusion, memory and thought processing difficulties, agitation, paranoia, crying, fear, panic, sleep disturbance, pacing, shouting, depression, withdrawal, irritability, anxiety and shaking.

  • Anticipate the types of reactions you may have and plan strategies for coping with them.

  • Consider seeking input from your friends, family, therapist or service provider(s).

  • Be prepared to have members of your personal support network offer emotional support so you can acknowledge and express feelings.

Treatment Instructions

  • You may need medical assistance or even be hospitalized. Keep a copy of your emergency health information card with you, as well as a copy of a durable power of attorney for health so that someone you have chosen may intervene for you.


  • ________ Practice how to communicate your needs.

  • ________ Anticipate the types of reactions you may have after a disaster and plan strategies for coping with them.

  • ________ Keep your emergency health information card with you in case you are hospitalized.

Developed by Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco in cooperation with June Kailes, Disability Consultant, through a grant from The American Red Cross Northern California Disaster Preparedness Network.