MADISON, Wis. -- Residents of Manitowoc and Monroe counties who were affected by the severe storms and flooding of June and July are now eligible to receive free counseling support, officials of Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today.
The addition of the two counties brings to 30 the total number of counties eligible to receive this important disaster-recovery program.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is coordinating the Crisis Counseling Immediate Services Program, which is called Project Recovery.
Funded by a FEMA grant of $415,206, Project Recovery is now available to residents of Adams, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, La Crosse, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago counties.
Residents of these counties can call Project Recovery at 1-866-422-3742 to arrange for an outreach worker to call or visit them. Outreach workers also can be reached by calling the 2-1-1 service line.
Project Recovery provides supportive counseling, community outreach, consultation and education. Trained outreach workers will be canvassing affected communities, making personal contacts with disaster victims and offering counseling assistance.
Most disaster victims do not have long-term mental health issues. That is why Project Recovery is designed to aid disaster victims in abnormally stressful circumstances.
"Project Recovery's outreach workers are trained counselors, not mental-health professionals," Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) Dolph Diemont said. "They help people deal with disaster-related stress by talking with them, passing on relevant information, and making suggestions and referrals - including referrals to mental health professionals, if necessary." As FCO, Diemont leads the U.S. government's side of joint federal/state disaster operations.
"Project Recovery's 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 offer assistance."
"During an emergency, people focus on their immediate needs," Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Johnnie Smith said. "It's not until after the crisis is over that stress may catch up with people and they begin having trouble coping with daily, routine activities.
Survivors of a disaster are likely to go through the stages of grieving that people typically experience after a major loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. Often, simply conversing with an experienced and empathetic listener can help them verbalize their concerns and achieve more clarity and peace of mind.
Older adults and children are particularly vulnerable to stress after a disaster and may require special considerations. WEM and FEMA have developed the following list of things to look for and tips for helping others get through this difficult time.
Some signs are trouble concentrating or remembering things; difficulty making decisions; replaying the events of the flood over and over in your mind; feeling depressed, sad or down much of the time; experiencing anxiety or fear, especially when things remind you of the flood; nightmares; having trouble sleeping and feeling overwhelmed.
Ways to relieve the symptoms of stress following a disaster include:
Eating nutritional foods, get adequate sleep and share your thoughts and feelings with people around you. Sharing common expe...