Crisis Counseling Available For Flood Victims In Southeastern Minnesota

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Release date: 
September 26, 2007
Release Number: 
1717-038

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- As residents of southeastern Minnesota recover and rebuild from the recent bout of severe storms and flooding, they should be sure to take stock of their mental health, as well, according to officials from Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"The period after a disaster can be full of adrenaline and things to do. Sometimes all the stress can sneak up on you when you least expect it," said Federal Coordinating Officer Carlos Mitchell. "Residents shouldn?t be afraid to reach out if they?re feeling overwhelmed by the sudden changes and disruptions around them. Taking care of your emotional health - and that of your family and friends - is a necessary part of overall recovery."

The Crisis Counseling program has been established in the seven counties designated for federal assistance in the wake of the severe storms and flooding that struck beginning Aug. 18. Trained crisis counselors will be canvassing affected communities, distributing literature and making personal contacts with disaster victims. The outreach effort will include schools and daycare centers. Most importantly, the counselors will offer each resident they meet encouragement to open up and talk about his or her situation as a fundamental step toward dealing with it.

Crisis Counseling assistance can include helping disaster victims understand their current situation and reactions; reducing additional stress; assisting victims in reviewing their options; promoting coping strategies; providing emotional support; and encouraging connections with other individuals and agencies who may help survivors recover to their pre-disaster level of functioning. The program is funded by FEMA and administered by the state of Minnesota.

Besides the personal outreach, residents in the seven counties designated for FEMA assistance can call 24-hour hotlines to receive free emergency mental-health services to help relieve grieving, stress or mental health problems caused or aggravated by the disaster or its aftermath. The eligible counties are Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Olmsted, Steele, Wabasha and Winona.

The call-in Crisis Counseling services expand on pre-existing mental health services in affected communities. By calling the hotlines, residents can receive emergency, over-the-phone counseling 24 hours a day. Hotline operators may also arrange personal Crisis Counseling visits, or make mental-health referrals for those severely impacted by the disaster.

"The various aspects of Crisis Counseling seek to reach out to as many people in need as possible," Mitchell said. "Often, simply conversing with an experienced and empathetic listener can help you verbalize your concerns and achieve more clarity and peace of mind about your situation."

Numbers to call for Crisis Counseling services in each county are as follows:

Dodge County
1-800-722-0590, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
507-455-8100, after hours

Fillmore County
1-800-422-0670
507-281-6248

Houston County
1-800-657-6777
507-454-4341

Olmsted County
1-800-422-0670
507-281-6248

Steele County
1-800-722-0590, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
507-455-8100, after hours

Wabasha County
1-800-657-6777
651-565-2234

Winona County
1-800-657-6777
507-454-4341

FEMA coordinates the federal government?s role 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. 

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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