2013-10-04 / Top Stories

Help For Post-Disaster Stress

Recognizing that the stresses of Hurricane Sandy have lingered long after the storm’s tide rolled out, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York is collaborating with the Red Cross to offer a new program to treat post-disaster distress symptoms for Sandy survivors.

Individuals who experience a disaster often feel intense emotions that can last long after the danger has passed. Some common post disaster reactions include fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, and guilt or shame.

The new program will provide high quality, client-centered, strength and evidenced based mental health care through one on one and group sessions, psycho-education and public education presentations. All services are free of charge.

According to Dr. Kerry Symon, Psy.D, Program Director for the Visiting Nurse Services of New York, “Our staff are trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy-Post Disaster Distress (CBT-PD) by the developer of the treatment, Dr. Jessica Hamblen (Center for PTSD). The model will be used in both one on one, group and single psycho education sessions with evaluation forms to assess the effectiveness of the model. This model was used post 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ike and the hurricanes in Florida. Our social work assistants will also provide case management services to those who need resources in tandem with or more than our services provide.”

The goal of the program is for people to see an improvement in their quality of life, increase their sense of peace, hope, and tap into their own resiliency and strengths.

“To do this,” says Symon, “we will help them identify the ways in which they think and feel that causes emotional pain and help them adapt new ways to thinking to draw in more positive emotions.”

To make a referral or contact the program directly and learn more about it, please call 718-888-6955 or e-mail kerry.symon@vnsny.org

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