Free Crisis Counseling Helps Residents During Disaster Recovery

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Release date: 
April 10, 2008
Release Number: 

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Free crisis counseling is available to Iroquois and Livingston County residents who suffer from stress, anxiety or depression due to the severe storms and flooding earlier this year.

Individuals and families from both counties who need help should call the Institute for Human Resources at (815) 844-6109 for a confidential appointment.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided a $33,802 grant to the state to help meet the emotional needs of disaster-affected residents. Registration for disaster assistance is not required to benefit from this program.

Stress can surface in many forms and it often appears weeks or months after the traumatic event, mental health experts say. Common reactions to a disaster may include anger, fatigue, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, nightmares, depression, inability to concentrate, hyperactivity and/or increased alcohol or drug use.

People of all ages may exhibit these symptoms, but children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Children especially can be vulnerable to disaster-related stress effects from interruption of daily routines and loss of the stability the home environment provides. Even second-hand exposure to the disaster through extensive media coverage can take an emotional toll on residents.

Mental health experts suggest a number of ways to relieve the symptoms of emotional distress:

  • Talk about your feelings with family, friends and neighbors. Friends and family are good medicine, and sharing common experiences helps people overcome anxiety and feelings of helplessness.
  • Get back into daily routines as soon as you can and try to maintain a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep.
  • Get some physical exercise every day.
  • Children are particularly vulnerable and may exhibit symptoms including excessive fear of the dark, crying, fear of being alone and constant worry. Reassure children that they are safe. Encourage them to talk about their fears; emphasize that they are not responsible for what happened; hold and hug them frequently.

If you or someone you know are suffering from disaster-related stress, take advantage of this free program.

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 terrorism.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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