JACKSON, Tenn. -- Free crisis counseling is available to Tennesseans who may be suffering stress, anxiety or depression as a result of the tornadoes and severe storms which hit the state earlier this month. Registration for FEMA disaster assistance is not required to benefit from this program.
Common reactions to a disaster may include nightmares, difficulty sleeping, feelings of being overwhelmed, fear of the weather, anxiety about the future, difficulty making decisions, hopelessness, disappointment with outside help, headaches, increased anger or aggression, domestic violence, frustration and feelings of powerlessness. These symptoms can be exhibited by people of all ages.
Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Children can be especially vulnerable to disaster-related stress effects from interruption of daily routine and loss of the stability the home environment provides. Even individuals who experience a disaster ?second hand? through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.
Family counseling to overcome stress-related impact on family groups also is part of the program. Referrals for counseling services are available via telephone at the FEMA help line 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), the TTY line at 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired, at disaster recovery centers or directly from the State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities crisis center help line: 1-800-809-9957 .