MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved $2.5 million for continued crisis counseling for Alabama residents affected by Hurricane Katrina. These funds will provide counseling services for up to nine months as part of the Regular Services Program. The Immediate Services program was granted $3.1 million for counseling services in Alabama in the initial aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Project Rebound, funded by FEMA and managed by Alabama’s Department of Mental Health and Retardation, helps Alabama residents and evacuees cope with the stress and other emotional issues resulting from Hurricane Katrina. The state contracts with mental health service providers to respond to referrals made by community liaisons, police, firefighters, churches, individuals, friends, or family.
Since Hurricane Katrina hit Alabama in late August of last year, Project Rebound has aided more than 20,000 residents affected by the storm. Counseling services are ongoing, and counselors will continue to assist those in need in communities throughout the state. The state has established mobile teams of counselors to conduct outreach to residents across the region and setup statewide toll-free hotlines to respond to crisis counseling and mental health service requests.
It is important for people to examine their feelings following a traumatic event, counselors point out. Common symptoms of disaster-related stress are loss of appetite, fatigue or sleeplessness. More serious reactions might be depression or the abuse of alcohol or drugs. An individual may not associate such problems with the disaster. When symptoms like this surface, contacting a crisis counselor may help. For assistance, contact Project Rebound's 24 hour toll-free help line: 800-971-7401.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003