AUSTIN, Texas -- Texans who survived the recent wildfires -- or saw neighbors or family experience loss -- can be experiencing post-disaster stress that is as real as the destruction itself.
Because of this, free crisis counseling is available to Texans in the 23 counties designated for Individual Assistance under the major disaster declaration. The program, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and administered by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), is open to any child or adult who is experiencing disaster-related stress.
“FEMA funds this program after major disasters because counseling can help people understand that their emotional reactions to the disaster, such as grief, frustration, anger and fear, are normal,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes of FEMA. “We know that the right support and coping skills can help most survivors pick up the pieces and go on with their lives.”
Trained counselors are provided by the network of state Community Mental Health Centers. Calls to the crisis lines are free of charge, as are face-to-face follow-up sessions for adults and children whose needs cannot be fully served through phone counseling.
- Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette and Williamson Counties: Bluebonnet Trails Community Services, crisis line 800 -841-1255
- Colorado County, Texana Center, crisis line 800-633-5686
- Hill County, Heart of Texas Region Mental Health Mental Retardation (MHMR) Center, crisis line 866-572-3451
- Travis County, Austin Travis County Integral Care, crisis line 512-472-4357
- Grimes and Leon Counties, MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley, crisis line 888-522-8262
- Houston County, Burke Center, crisis line 800-392-8343
- Montgomery and Walker Counties, Tri-County Services, crisis line 800-659-6994
- Anderson County, ACCESS Anderson Cherokee Community Enrichment Services, crisis line 800-621-1693
- Cass, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Rusk and Upshur Counties, Community Healthcore, crisis line 800-832-1009
- Henderson and Smith Counties, Andrews Center Behavioral Healthcare System, crisis line 877-934-2131
- Navarro County, Lakes Regional MHMR Center, crisis line 877-466-0660
- Waller County, Texana Center, crisis line 800-633-5686
Residents of other Texas counties may call 2-1-1, the central point of contact for health and human services throughout the state.
The State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Bastrop is staffed with crisis counselors, and appointments are not necessary. Registered survivors from any of the designated counties can drop by the Bastrop center to speak with a counselor.
The Bastrop recovery center is at the Bastrop High School 9th Grade Academy, 1602 Hill Street, Bastrop, Texas 78602. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Another resource is the TDSHS website addressing post-disaster mental health. It lists frequent reactions to catastrophic events and methods of coping specifically for families, children and older adults.
Texans can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone via FEMA’s toll-free numbers: 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Operators are available from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Follow FEMA tweets about the Texas disaster at www.twitter.com/femaregion6. Other online resources...