CAGUAS, Puerto Rico – Few things are as unsettling as having the earth move beneath your feet without warning. If you just can’t overcome feelings of unhappiness or unease, you are not alone. Help is at hand, and it’s free.
FEMA has approved crisis counseling assistance for residents of Guánica, Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Ponce, Utuado and Yauco.
FEMA is funding the crisis counseling program, which is administered by Proyecto Animate. The program’s goal is to help people and communities to recover from the effects of natural or man-made disasters through short-term intervention.
People commonly experience a wide range of emotions following a disaster. These feelings are normal and may last for many months after an event such as an earthquake. Common reactions may include:
- Feeling tense or nervous, angry or irritable.
- Crying often, feelings of persistent hopelessness.
- Feeling numb.
- Suffering sleep problems, being constantly tired.
- Not feeling hungry or having stomach problems (such as nausea or cramps).
- Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions.
Everyone has these feelings once in a while. However, when these types of feelings and experiences disrupt daily living activities there is help available.
Counselors will be located in disaster recovery centers as well as in the base camps. Their goal is to help survivors understand their reactions, handle stress and review their post-disaster options. They will try to connect survivors with other individuals and agencies that can help their recovery progress.
Crisis counselors do not diagnose people nor do they keep records. They may conduct group sessions as well as individual sessions.
In addition to the counselors at the disaster recovery centers and base camps, counselors can be reached by calling Línea PAS at 800-981-0023 or (TTY) 800-672-7622, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 711 for Video Relay Service. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish.) TTY call 800-462-7585.
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