PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Individuals and families who need help recovering from the flooding from the April nor'easter storm can get free counseling by calling the toll-free helpline at 1-877-294-HELP (4357).
The crisis line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When a person calls the helpline, a crisis counseling representative will provide the needed assistance. Individuals are eligible for crisis counseling services if they were in the disaster area at the time of the April nor'easter.
The crisis counseling program is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and administered by the New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services, Disaster and Terrorism Branch. Currently the program has received a federal grant of over $110,000 to provide services through the Immediate Services Program.
FEMA funds two types of crisis counseling initiatives as well as crisis counseling training through this program, based on applications from the states. The Immediate Services program (ISP) enables the state or local agency to respond to the immediate mental health needs with counseling techniques, as well as outreach services such as public information and community networking. The Regular Services program is designed to provide up to nine months of crisis counseling, community outreach, consultation and education services to people affected by a presidentially declared disaster.
The purpose of FEMA's Crisis Counseling and Training Program is to help people understand that their emotional reactions to the trauma that they have experienced are normal and to help them develop coping techniques. Through crisis counseling support and information, the majority of disaster survivors can pick up the pieces and go on with their lives. Individuals with needs that cannot be fully served through these programs are identified and referred to agencies that provide mental health treatment services.
FEMA and NJOEM work together to coordinate the federal and state governments' roles in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.