FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's now been more than four months since deadly tornadoes swept through parts of Kentucky. For many, their homes and lives were forever changed.
In a way to assist survivors, free crisis counseling is now being offered.
Counseling is available to residents of several Kentucky counties, including Barren, Caldwell, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Taylor and Warren.
According to a release from FEMA, "A tornado disaster can shock the emotions of the people who lived through it. Survivors frequently report feelings of anger, depression, sadness, stress or anxiety for months after the event."
FEMA approved funding for crisis counseling for nine months, through Jan. 15, 2023.
Those interested in the free service should contact the state's 211 line. The three-digit phone number dialed from anywhere in Kentucky connects residents to health and human services agencies that can provide help to individuals and households recovering from the tornadoes.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Families operates the program through four community behavioral health centers:
- River Valley Behavioral Health (serving Ohio County): rvbh.com/crisis-line/
- Life Skills (serving Barren, Hart, Logan and Warren counties): lifeskills.com/crisis
- Pennyroyal Center (serving Caldwell, Christian, Hopkins, Lyon and Muhlenberg counties): pennyroyalcenter.org/services/behavioral_health/
- Four Rivers Behavioral Health (serving Fulton, Graves, Hickman and Marshall counties): h4rbh.org/resources-after-a-disaster-crisis-or-trauma/
Counselors meet with adults and children and provide emotional support, education, basic crisis counseling and may refer survivors to local resources and disaster relief services in their own area.
All services are anonymous, and no records or case files are kept. Counselors usually live in the disaster area and are sometimes survivors themselves.
The Crisis Counseling program is administered through a partnership between FEMA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Mental Health Services (SAMHSA). SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline, 800-985-5990, provides 24/7, 365-days-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
For a list of WDRB News articles related to the 2021 Kentucky tornadoes, click here.
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