San Francisco, CA -- Free crisis counseling is available for Big Island residents who have suffered losses or had their lives disrupted by November's storm and flooding, disaster officials announced today. The Department of Health, State of Hawaii, has received a grant of over $63,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The money will be used to provide 60 days of counseling and other mental health services, to help people in the County of Hawaii cope with emotional stresses created by the disaster.
"Crisis counseling funds were made available as part of the federal and state disaster aid for the Big Island," said state coordinating officer Ed Texeira. "Counseling can help people recognize normal stress reactions caused or aggravated by the disaster. These normal reactions can include trouble sleeping or eating, irritability, anger, depression, restlessness, or substance abuse."
"The emotional toll of a disaster can be overwhelming," said federal coordinating officer William L. Carwile III. "Through the FEMA grant, screening, diagnostic, and counseling services can be given to disaster victims. Our aim is to assist people in regaining control of their lives." The FEMA-funded crisis counseling program also includes community outreach, consultation, and education.
Big Island disaster victims in need of counseling are encouraged to call the Flood Relief Counseling Program at (808) 896-9047, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.