700 Project Hope Counselors Help New Yorkers Suffering After Sandy


Hundreds of trained counselors will be available to help New Yorkers who are struggling emotionally with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

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More than 700 mental health counselors have been deployed to the communities hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy on Long Island, New York City and Lower Hudson Valley.  The State Office of Mental Health expects that 200,000 New Yorkers will be able to receive outreach, crisis counselling and educational services through the program. 

"The devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy continues to be felt across the state," Governor Cuomo said is a statement. "For many New Yorkers who are rebuilding and trying to get their lives back to normal, these are very difficult and stressful times. In response, Project Hope will continue to expand and provide its crisis counseling services so that the hardest hit communities can recover and rebuild as quickly as possible."
The project is funded by an $8.2 million federal grant issued last month.  OHM used the grant to hire and train counselors, and expects to hire at least 900.  One of the major issues the Project Hope counselors will be working closely with New Yorkers on is to recognize that their reactions are normal.  
The counselors will be going door-to-door and conduct outreach programs at community centers.  Residents experiencing emotional distress as a result of Sandy can receive free, confidential crisis counseling, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling LifeNet at 800-543-3638.
Pay attention to these warning signs in order to determine if someone you know is in need of counseling: irritability, poor concentration, low mood and hopelessness, isolation, discouragement and uncertainty about the future, persistent grief over their losses, nightmares and flashbacks, new or worsening health problems and alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse.  In children, especially those now displaced by the storm, or who may have lost family or friends, may act younger than their age, perform poorly in school, be isolative, engage in risky behaviors and even get in trouble with the law.  Anyone experiencing these signs is encouraged to get help immediately so they can begin their emotion recovery.
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