Ways to help after a disaster.

If you want to help after today’s tragic events in Boston, but are unsure how, here are a few options:

Donate Blood. If you give locally, it helps replenish the entire nation’s supply. [As of 4/15/13 5:15pm the Red Cross site is down, probably due to sudden traffic. Give it some time, make an appointment later this week or weekend. The need for blood everywhere is constant.]

Reach out through e-mail, twitter, facebook, and tumblr to your family and friends in the Boston area. Phone lines may be jammed or intentionally down, but e-mail and social networking will likely still get through.  The Red Cross has a Safe and Well tool, and Google has set up a Person Finder, too.

And for ways to help yourself in the days and weeks to come:

Seek counseling if you need it. Violent events are potentially triggering for many people for many reasons. If you have a mental health professional, reach out to them and check-in. If you have a friend or family member you confide in, reach out to them. You can visit http://www.211.org, or dial 211 on your phone to be connected to counseling services in your area.

There’s no reason you have to deal with any of this on your own.

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional, emergency personnel, or expert on any of these topics. I am a healthcare professional with a lot of experience in gathering resources for people in need [it’s kind of my job]. I’m always willing to talk to anyone about anything, my inbox is open.