Dr. Phil Shares Advice For Riding Out Oklahoma Storms - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Dr. Phil Shares Advice For Riding Out Oklahoma Storms

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Dr. Phil, who is an Oklahoma native, came to the News 9 studio to share some quick advice we could all use since we get our fair share of dangerous weather. Dr. Phil, who is an Oklahoma native, came to the News 9 studio to share some quick advice we could all use since we get our fair share of dangerous weather.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

We are bracing for another round of severe weather -- with hail, high winds and threats of tornadoes. Just like we talk about having a plan and going through your checklist, there is a mental checklist you should also run down, especially living in tornado alley.

Dr. Phil, who is an Oklahoma native, came to the News 9 studio to share some quick advice we could all use since we get our fair share of dangerous weather. Being weather aware and prepared is a must in Oklahoma and we should also be MENTALLY aware and prepared.

"I've lived at different times in my life in tornado alley here," said Dr. Phil, Psychiatrist.

He says when it comes to helping kids cope with severe storms, the most important thing is to not leave them in the dark.

"Where children really get stressed is if they feel helpless, and they feel helpless when they don't have information and they don't have something to do," he said.

If you go into alert status, give them something to do, too, so they don't feel like they're just waiting for something bad to happen. Have an age-appropriate checklist to help them feel like they're contributing to a safe outcome.

"It's that helplessness where they feel like, 'I can't do anything, I'm a passenger,' that's where they feel the anxiety building up because they don't have any control," said Dr. Phil.

He suggests simple chores like grabbing the flashlights, passing out water bottles or making sure the pets are safe. Dr. Phil says children need to understand severe weather isn't a cause for panic, but it is a cause for family action. If a tornado hits -- the snail's-pace recovery process often brings on the darkest times after all the cameras leave and the help fades.

"That's when the silence can be deafening, the loneliness can set in, depression can set it," he said. "Don't feel like you're alone. Watch for warning signs that you are beginning to feel like you're losing control."

Dr. Phil says weather PTSD is a real thing -- marked by anxiety and depression.

"If the next time you hear a siren, it goes back to that day when everything was ripped away from you," Dr. Phil said. "If you go back to the same fear, the same anxiety the very moment it happened before, that's a warning sign that you may need to be talking to someone."

It's not a sign of weakness, it's just a sign for need of adjustment to help heal those old wounds.

"There is strength in numbers, give it a voice, talk about it and get it out," he said.

Dr. Phil said his niece's home took a direct hit in Moore, leaving only the foundation behind. She had a plan, she worked her plan and she survived. As Dr. Phil says, we cope in Oklahoma, by having a plan -- know where your shelters are, know how long it takes to get there, keep everyone in the loop and stay weather aware.

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