RALEIGH, N.C. -- Crisis counseling is still available for victims in 31 North Carolina counties whose lives were thrown into disarray by the devastating hurricanes and floods of 1999.
Funded by an $868,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the program is administered by the state Department of Health and Human Services through its Division of Mental Health.
Disaster victims who have been uprooted from their homes and daily routines, who have lost a lifetime of accumulated personal property, are likely to experience some form of mental anguish. Anger, fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia, nightmares, depression, hyperactivity, inability to concentrate, or increased use of alcohol or drugs are among the symptoms of stress likely to be triggered by a disaster. And the emotional responses may not surface until weeks or months after the upheaval.
It is not necessary to be registered with FEMA to obtain counseling. Those who are experiencing difficulty with stress-induced problems as a result of last year's storms should call the North Carolina CARE-LINE, 1-800-662-7030 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to be referred to a counselor. Individuals also may request crisis counseling assistance by calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-525-0321 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.
Crisis counseling is available to residents of these counties: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Tyrell, Washington, Wayne, and Wilson.
To register for all recovery assistance programs before the January 18 deadline, residents of the 66 disaster-declared counties are urged to call right away to the FEMA teleregistration Hotline, 1-800-462-9029 or TTY 1-800-462-7585.