Crisis Counseling Can Help Disaster Survivors

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Release date: 
July 27, 2009
Release Number: 
1838-062

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- The heavy storms, flooding and mudslides of early May caused a great deal of destruction in West Virginia. Many homes and businesses were damaged, and some individuals were unable to work. But the losses that are most difficult to measure are the ones that destroy a person's peace of mind.

Three agencies are collaborating in West Virginia to bring crisis counseling to people who may have been affected by the Federally-declared disaster of May 15, 2009. The agencies are the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Outreach to individuals who may not be aware they have issues related to the disaster is a core goal of the FEMA/State/SAMSHA disaster crisis counseling program.

As residents and workers are busy trying to get their lives back in order they often fail to recognize signs of emotional stress that make it difficult to function well. Here are just a few of the things to look for:

  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • A desire to be alone
  • Excessive worry 
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of depression
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Reluctance to get going each day

The list of reactions to stress is long because we all respond differently. Anyone who feels overwhelmed by their experience of the disaster, are out of sorts or who just want someone to talk to, should call for crisis counseling. The Statewide Disaster Hotline number is 1-866-867-8290, all calls are confidential.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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