Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling

Feb. 13, 2014 at 1:22 AM
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ROCKVILLE, Md., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The Disaster Distress Helpline at (800) 985-5990 provides immediate counseling to those affected by this week's winter storms, U.S. health officials said.

Pamela S. Hyde, administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said a disaster such as the ice storm in the South is unexpected and often brings out strong emotions.

The Disaster Distress Helpline provides immediate counseling to anyone who needs help in dealing with the damage caused by the winter storms in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states.

The Helpline is a 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week resource that responds to people who need crisis counseling after experiencing a natural or man-made disaster or tragedy.

Sponsored by SAMHSA, the Helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the nationwide network of centers. The Helpline staff will provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services.

"When disaster strikes, people react with increased anxiety, worry and anger," Hyde said in a statement. "With community and family support, most of us bounce back. Some may need extra assistance to cope with unfolding events and uncertainties. People seeking emotional help in the aftermath of a disaster can now call (800) 985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 and begin the process of recovery."

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