Loudon County boy copes with storm anxiety
LORI TUCKER  6 News Anchor/Reporter

LOUDON (WATE) - The threat of severe weather is cause for major panic for many people.

While we're not wrong to be afraid of an approaching storm, mental health experts say "storm anxiety" is a real issue, and it's scary for those who deal with it.

Nine-year-old Ephram Hobbs of Loudon would much rather play kickball on a nice day with his uncle Justin, than try to stay calm during a storm.

"Some people may not be afraid, but I'm one of them that are," said Ephram.

Ben Harrington, executive director of the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee, says Ephram is not alone in his fears.

"A storm can be very traumatic. It can scare the Dickens out of folks and so, how do you cope with it?"

Despite his concerns, Ephram does not suffer from severe storm anxiety. One reason is his family has a clear emergency plan.

His mom and grandparents keep up with weather alerts and Ephram knows to go to the family's safe place during severe weather.

It's in the family bathroom where there are no windows. It is centrally located, and there's enough room for the family to take shelter in the event of tornadoes or other heavy storms.

Another way mental health experts say to help children face their fear of storms is to let them learn more about them.

Keep up with the weather forecast to know what's happening here at home.

"Do what our good weather people suggest to us. If there's a tornado out in Oklahoma, Memphis, not really anything to worry about. So know when to really be concerned and when not to be concerned," said Harrington.

"Something's going to fall on my house. A tornado's going to come through," said Ephram of his biggest storm fears.

Let your kids share their worries with you, which is something Ephram is encouraged at his home to do.