AUSTIN, Texas ? Crisis counseling services are available for Texas wildfires survivors through a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and administered by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
Crisis counseling helps disaster survivors deal with normal stress reactions and emotions caused or aggravated by the disaster. Counseling helps victims to gain emotional control by offering simple steps to help them cope.
"People who are feeling depressed, angry, frustrated or overwhelmed are urged to seek help," said Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman, FEMA's top field official for wildfire recovery operations in Texas . "Stress is a normal, common and, most often, temporary response following a disaster."
Feelings of stress are not always easily traced to their source, but signs of stress can include feelings of despair, fearfulness, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, recurring nightmares, irritability or feeling edgy, loss of appetite or a change in personality.
"No one who experiences a disaster goes untouched by it," said State Coordinating Officer Duke Mazurek of the Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management. "We want people to know that disaster assistance is more than financial help. Crisis counseling can be a great deal of help to individuals and families coping with high stress."
For assistance, call the Crisis Hotline 24 hours a day, toll-free, at 1-866-773-4243 .
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.