Mental health help available for Harvey survivors

Published 10:17 am Monday, August 20, 2018

One-year anniversary of hurricane may increase emotional stress

To The Leader

AUSTIN – Hurricane Harvey survivors may experience renewed stress as the disaster’s anniversary date approaches, and the federally funded Texans Recovering Together program is offering free counseling, education and local resource referrals to help survivors and communities recover.

“Recovery takes time and can be different for survivors and their communities,” said Sonja Gaines, Texas Health and Human Services Commission deputy executive commissioner for IDD and Behavioral Health Services. “With an anniversary, people may experience increased emotional stress as they mourn losses and reflect on resilience. This free counseling program can help.”

Since Sept. 17, 2017, HHSC’s Texans Recovering Together program has provided nearly $14 million in mental health aid through FEMA grant funds awarded to Texas through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The grant period ends Oct. 31. The program is offered in Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller and Wharton counties.

Through Texans Recovering Together, local providers are visiting homes and community settings to offer counseling, information, resources and education on stress management to help Harvey survivors cope with disaster-related trauma. The program’s outreach workers empower affected families and individuals to move forward.

As of July 29, 2018, program workers met more than 138,000 people in 31 disaster-declared counties.

Harvey survivors can learn how to access services and find other disaster behavioral health resources at Residents in the counties currently served through the program can dial 2-1-1 to be routed to a local provider.