Free disaster crisis counseling available to flood survivors
BATON ROUGE – Officials say that survivors who are still coping with the effects of the August flood and severe weather can take advantage of free disaster crisis counseling available through FEMA and the state of Louisiana.
The purpose of the Crisis Counseling Program is to provide survivors with free, local counseling services that promote resilience, empowerment and recovery.
Disaster-related distress is a serious threat to any individual affected by a major disaster. It can be in the form of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Disaster-related distress, like other illnesses, is most easily recognized by its symptoms. While symptoms vary by case, disaster-related stress disorders usually produce a combination of the following warning signs, according to officials:
- Chest or muscle tightening
- Inability to sleep
- Overall restlessness
- Uncontrollable anger, sadness or fear
- Lack of appetite
- Substance abuse
- Social withdrawal
- Suicidal thoughts
The crisis counselors available through the Crisis Counseling Program are all trained to educate, support and inform survivors. If necessary, the crisis counselors can refer survivors to therapists for diagnosis and treatment.
For more information about the Crisis Counseling Program or to set up an appointment for counseling, call the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health at 866-310-7977 or the Disaster Distress Hotline at 800-985-5990.
Crisis counselors are also available at all FEMA disaster recovery centers. To find a center, call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or text DRC and your ZIP code to 43362. You can also find a center near you by downloading the FEMA mobile app or going online to fema.gov.