Mental Health Awareness Month fights stigma and spreads knowledge
AUSTIN, Texas — May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and there is no better time to assess your own stress levels and find ways to improve your coping skills.
Hurricane Harvey upended Texans’ lives in August 2017, and many are still dealing with the aftermath. Disaster-related stress and trauma can affect survivors for years, especially if they don’t recognize the symptoms and ask for help.
“Anyone who lives through a disaster the magnitude of Hurricane Harvey will be affected by it,” said Paul Morris, director of the FEMA Texas Recovery Office. “Everyone experiences events differently, so we need to continue to look out for each other and encourage survivors to seek help if they need it.”
Survivors can find free, confidential mental health support in multiple languages through the providers listed below.
- The Federal Disaster Distress Helpline: People dealing with sadness, anger, fear or frustration can seek confidential advice anytime, any day of the year in more than 100 languages by dialing 211 or 800-985-5990, or by visiting www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline. Counselors will also work with survivors via text: Just text “TalkWithUs” to 66746, or reach the helpline by TTY at 800-846-8517.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Services are available anytime at 800-273-TALK (8255), 888-628-9454 for Spanish speakers or 800-799-4889 for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. You can also chat with a counselor at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
- The Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741 for round-the-clock support.
- Local mental health resources: Texas Health and Human Services lists those in your area at https://hhs.texas.gov/services/mental-health-substance-use/mental-health-crisis-services.
- The On to Better Health app: The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston partnered with Magellan Health in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to create an online program for common challenges such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, obsessive compulsive disorder and substance abuse. See helpful tips and videos, and develop skills that change negative thought patterns and behaviors, at https://uthealth.ontobetterhealth.com/.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Crisis Line: Military veterans can receive support at 800-273-8255 or www.veteranscrisisline.net. More information about Texas Mental Health Programs for Veterans can be found at https://hhs.texas.gov/services/mental-health-substance-use/adult-mental-health/mental-health-program-veterans.
- The Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Survivors who need assistance paying for anxiety or depression treatment can find help at https://adaa.org/finding-help/treatment/low-cost-treatment.
Learn more about mental health resources and support in Texas at https://mentalhealthtx.org.
For additional information on Hurricane Harvey and Texas recovery, visit the Hurricane Harvey disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4332, Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEMAHarvey, the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at www.twitter.com/FEMARegion6 or the Texas Division of Emergency Management website at www.dps.texas.gov/dem.