TALLAHASSEE, FL — Florida survivors who are dealing with the emotional toll of Hurricane Michael can now get free crisis counseling by local providers.
By phone, distressed survivors who live in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson or Washington counties may call 850-522-4485. Press 5 to speak with a counselor. The line is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (local time) Monday through Friday.
Survivors in Franklin, Gadsden, Leon, Liberty, Taylor or Wakulla counties may call 800-342-0774. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (local time) seven days a week.
Callers can get tips on how to handle disaster-related distress, along with referrals to local treatment centers, support groups and community-based organizations.
For in-person assistance, trained counselors have started going door-to-door in all 12 of those counties affected by Michael. Counselors offer emotional support to distressed survivors and can make several home visits, if needed, before referring them to longer-term treatment.
The counselors work in pairs. Each carries a badge from Project H.O.P.E. of Florida and a badge from one of two contracted mental health providers—either Apalachee Center or Life Management Center.
Whether by phone or in person, survivors can find relief by talking about the challenges to their recovery from Michael. If needed, counselors can make immediate referrals to local resources.
Funded by FEMA and administered by the state, this effort aims to reach survivors with unmet needs—such as an overwhelmed homeowner with limited mobility who lives in a rural community or a worried parent dealing with an anxious toddler who lost her favorite toy and now fears the dark.
Survivors also may call the national Disaster Distress Helpline to connect with a trained and caring professional. Call 800-985-5990 (TTY 800-846-8517) or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (For Spanish, text Hablanos to 66746.) Lines remain open 24 hours a day seven days a week.
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.
For a list of resources available to individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Michael, visit www.floridadisaster.org/info.
For more Hurricane Michael recovery information, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4399.
Follow FEMA and the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Twitter at @FEMARegion4 and @FLSERT. You may also visit FEMA and the Division’s Facebook pages at Facebook.com/FEMA and Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.