Marie Paschke of Rockland, with the American Red Cross in Maine, is traveling to Orlando, Florida, June 21 to help provide disaster mental health support following the mass shooting there last weekend.

Marie Paschke, a licensed clinical social worker, will be joining other disaster mental health volunteers, including Jan Frost of Rockport, who has been onsite supporting loved ones struggling to come to terms with this tragedy. Since 2011, Paschke has been a volunteer with the Red Cross and was a member of the disaster mental health response team during the Noyes Street fires in Portland.

After traumatic and emotional events, people want to know what to do, and preparing yourself and your family for future emergencies can help bring peace of mind. In addition, the events in Orlando emphasize the importance of knowing what to do when an emergency occurs. Even as first responders rushed in to help, much of the initial care to the injured was provided by people nearby.

Whether the emergency is community-wide and involves numerous injuries, or involves a single individual being hurt at home, it is vital that someone close by knows what to do when such an emergency occurs. Register for a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED course at so that you can be better prepared to help in future emergencies. Download the free Red Cross First Aid App that puts free and simple lifesaving information in the hands of smartphone and tablet users.

This is a difficult time for everyone affected and it’s important for people to connect with and support each other. The Red Cross offers the following tips to help people stay strong:

• Events like this can cause feelings of uncertainty and anxiety since no one knows for sure what will happen next. Remember that it’s OK to feel nervous.

• Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as anger, frustration and anxiety.

• Spend more time with family and friends, and offer your support. Hug one another and listen.

• Stay informed but limit media exposure of the events, especially for children. Children are especially vulnerable to stress reactions related to media.

• Parents should let children talk about their fears and then reassure them about their safety. Talk with them in ways that they can easily understand. Let them guide the conversation; share details only when they ask about them.

• Watch for signs of stress in your family, friends and children. Get help from others if needed.

• Take care of yourself. Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.

• To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.