FEMA Awards State $1.1 Million for Counseling Hurricane Survivors

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Friday, Dec. 16)— The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) has been awarded a grant of more than $1.1 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for crisis counseling for survivors of Hurricane Matthew.

Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. The FEMA-funded Crisis Counseling Program (CCP) allows SCDMH to hire and train people locally to provide free, short-term crisis counseling to survivors who may be having trouble psychologically adjusting to the effects of Hurricane Matthew and the flooding that followed. SCDMH Crisis Counselors canvass neighborhoods, go door-to-door and visit individuals and families in communities severely impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Crisis Counselors make contact in homes and communities, not in clinical or office settings.

FEMA’s Crisis Counseling Program is designed to provide supplemental funding to states in the aftermath of major disasters. As it did in last year’s floods in South Carolina, CCP is making free help available to survivors recovering emotionally from Hurricane Matthew. Through the Crisis Counseling Program survivors are learning to cope with the stress caused by the disaster.

If you or someone you know is struggling with post-disaster stress or anxiety, you are not alone. Help is as near as your phone. You can connect with a trained CCP counselor, or request that a counselor visit your home, by calling the 24-hour Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990. This support service is confidential. Multilingual operators are available.

Other phone numbers available to survivors in need of help:

• Deaf/Hard of Hearing Disaster Distress Helpline, 800-985-5990

Text to connect with a trained crisis counselor, TalkWithUs to 66746

Suicide Prevention Hotline, 800-784-2433

Veterans’ Crisis Line, 800-273-8255

All of the crisis lines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, visit samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline .

Individuals may be eligible for crisis counseling services if they were directly affected by Hurricane Matthew and reside in one of these disaster-designated counties: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Orangeburg, Sumter andWilliamsburg.

Survivors continuing to need help recovering from Hurricane Matthew, or are in need of food or clothing, should call 2-1-1 for assistance.

For more information about the disaster recovery operation, visit fema.gov/disaster/4286 or the South Carolina Emergency Management Division at scemd.org/recovery-section/ia.