SALEM, Ore. -- Free crisis counseling, funded by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is available to Oregonians and Oregon families in Columbia and Tillamook counties who may be suffering stress, anxiety or depression as a result of the severe storms, wind, mudslides, landslides, and flooding striking the state Dec. 1-17.
Registration for assistance with FEMA is not required to access 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.
"No one should overlook the severe stress a disaster can cause," said Glen R. Sachtleben, federal coordinating officer for the Oregon disaster recovery. "This program can be vital to everyone who suffered, but especially children and older Oregonians."
Interruption of daily routine and loss of the stability the home environment provides can be highly stressful for children and the elderly. Even individuals who experience a disaster "second hand" through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.
"We encourage everyone who needs assistance to take advantage of this program soon," said Abby Kershaw, state coordinating officer.
Family counseling to overcome stress-related impact on family groups is an integral part of the program.
In addition to Crisis Counseling, State-FEMA funded programs offer a wide-range of services including disaster unemployment and disaster legal assistance.
Referrals for counseling services are available via telephone at the FEMA help line 1-800-621- 3362 (FEMA), the TTY line at 1-800-462-7585 for those with special speech or hearing needs; at disaster recovery centers; or directly from:
- Columbia County Mental Health: 503-397-5211
- Tillamook Family Counseling: 503-842-8201
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.