Jackson, MS -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved a Crisis Counseling Immediate Services grant application by the State of Mississippi to pay for free counseling services in three Mississippi counties. The program is aimed at assisting those who had their lives thrown into disarray and confusion by the May 5th through 8th severe storms, tornadoes and high winds.
The three counties in which residents are eligible to participate in the program are Chickasaw, Itawamba and Monroe.
"Disaster stress is a normal reaction when people suffer the loss of personal possessions, and are traumatized by the ferocity of severe weather," said Leon Shaifer, the state official in charge of long-term recovery. "Counseling helps them regain control of their lives."
Children and the elderly are special concerns following a major disaster. Counselors visit schools, neighborhood meetings, shopping centers, and faith communities to listen and help those in need.
Carlos Mitchell, the federal official in charge of recovery, added, "FEMA recognizes that disasters cause emotional and psychological trauma as well as the physical devastation seen by the eye. We fund crisis counseling to help people recover from all aspects of the harmful effects of a disaster."
For counseling assistance, call the Mississippi Department of Mental Health's PROJECT RECOVERY toll-free at 1-866-255-9986, or contact your local county department of mental health. This free service is available until July 22, 2003.