CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- The Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) announced recently that approximately 60 Project Recovery outreach workers are currently visiting disaster victims throughout the 27 designated counties eligible for Crisis Counseling services.
Project Recovery is a short-term crisis intervention program under the umbrella of DHHR. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds the program.
The outreach workers are canvassing communities in the declared areas, and will be visiting individual homes, agencies, senior citizen centers and churches. Members of the program will be wearing orange vests with the words “Outreach Worker” imprinted on them, and will also prominently display identification badges. If further proof is needed, people can call the crisis hotline at 1-800-232-0020.
Project Recovery sites are set up in several areas of the state. For a referral to the nearest counseling site, or to request a visit from an outreach worker, residents can call 1-800-232-0020. “If people have any reason to believe they are suffering emotional stress, we urge them to call and obtain counseling,” said Faith Stuart, DHHR director. “Our goal is to improve the quality of life for West Virginians with behavioral health needs.” Stuart noted that early signs may include depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, recurring nightmares, irritability, loss of appetite or a change in personality.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.