WICHITA, Kan. -- The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) has been awarded an Immediate Services Grant (ISG) to provide crisis counseling to Sedgwick County victims of the May 3 storms and tornadoes.
The grant will help Kansas meet the needs of local mental health programs and services during the long-term recovery from the disaster. Outreach workers will assess youth through church organizations and community gathering places; assist business owners through presentations at local Chambers of Commerce; circulate materials and act as referring agents to providers; and work with the Department on Aging to offer crisis counseling.
High-risk areas for emotional stress from the disaster include children and the elderly. Common reactions caused by; or aggravated by disasters can include depression, irritability, anger, trouble sleeping or eating, family discord, restlessness and substance abuse. Identifying these problem areas and beginning treatment now will help prevent larger debilitating problems in the future.
The SRS Commission on Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, American Red Cross (ARC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have tips to help children cope with disaster: Encourage children to talk about the disaster. Try to understand the fears of children. Encourage children to refocus on school, their major source of activity. Encourage them to talk to teachers about any problems they may have at school or at home. Play with children. Reassure children that they are safe.
For more information on post-tornado crisis counseling, the number in Sedgwick County is 316-660-3303.