|Trevor Cates stood amid the ruins of the fellowship hall of Banner|
Baptist Church, which he attends, at Gatlinburg. (Getty Images)
Becky Stoll, vice president of crisis and disaster management at Centerstone, one of the nation's largest behavioral health care providers, told Martin, "To have your life turned upside down is much more difficult than if you had time to brace for it, and in this case I don't think people had time to brace for it." Also, the visual image of seeing the flames causing damage can be hard to shake, said Valerie Cole of the American Red Cross.
Cole said that while some possessions can be salvaged from disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes, a fire usually leaves nothing behind but ashes, Martin writes. She said after a fire survivors typically are thankful they are alive and focus on basic needs, but down the line, maybe six or nine months later, is when people begin to get frustrated or disillusioned. That can cause post-traumatic stress, leading to increased rates of suicide, depression, anger and substance abuse. (Read more)