ATLANTA – Free crisis counseling is available to Georgia residents who may be stressed, anxious or depressed due to the recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.
Those who may need this confidential service can inquire about it while registering for disaster assistance. They can also call the Georgia Crisis Access line at 1-800-715-4225, answered 24 hours daily. Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) want Georgia residents to know that all counseling services are free and do not require registering with FEMA.
Signs that indicate someone may be suffering from stress include:
- Having trouble concentrating or remembering
- Difficulty making decisions
- Replaying the storm’s events over and over in one’s mind
- Feeling depressed or sad
- Experiencing anxiety or fear
- Having trouble sleeping
- Feeling overwhelmed
This service is provided by FEMA through a grant to the state. The program is available to residents of the following 15 declared disaster counties: Catoosa, Coweta, Dade, Green, Harris, Heard, Lamar, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Rabun, Spalding, Troup, Upson and Walker. Trained counselors with the Georgia Recovery Project will provide services to residents in these counties.
“The purpose of crisis counseling is to help relieve grieving, stress or emotional problems caused or aggravated by the disaster,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech. “We encourage those who need this assistance to take advantage of this program.”
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 is also an integral part of the program.
“We should not overlook the 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,” said State Coordinating Officer Charley English.
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.