Madison, Wis. -- Free crisis counseling is available to Wisconsin residents who may be stressed, anxious or depressed as a result of the recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding, state and federal officials announced today.
Those who may need this confidential service can inquire about it while registering for disaster assistance. They also can call 211, the volunteer referral service number. Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) remind Wisconsin residents that counseling services do not require registering with FEMA.
"The purpose of crisis counseling is to help relieve grieving, stress or emotional problems caused or aggravated by the disaster," said Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) Dolph Diemont. "We encourage everyone in the affected counties who needs assistance to take advantage of this program." As FCO, Diemont leads the U.S. government's side of joint federal/state disaster operations.
Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Johnnie Smith added, "We should not overlook the mental stress a disaster can cause. This program is vital to everyone affected, especially children and older residents facing loss of daily routines and the stability of the home environment."
Even individuals who experience a disaster secondhand, such as through exposure to extensive news media coverage, may be affected. Family counseling to overcome stress-related impact on family groups also is an integral part of the program.
These short-term services are provided by FEMA through a supplemental funds grant to state and local mental health agencies. They are available only to residents of the following 28 Wisconsin disaster-declared counties: Adams, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, La Crosse,? Marquette, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago.
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.