Warning Signs

How To Deal With Emotional Distress Caused By Sandy

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The physical destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy was impossible to ignore. Communities were torn apart, with many still recovering nearly two years after the storm. The ongoing recovery efforts to rebuild our homes serve as daily reminders of our physical and material loss.

While damage to homes and loss of property are easy to see, the emotional damage suffered by those affected by the storm is not as obvious, and can take time to be fully felt. Severe storms cause emotional distress, threatening our sense of control and safety and causing lasting effects. The traumatic events of the storm, coupled with a long rebuilding process, can cause anxiety and frustration about what will happen next.

Research has shown that children are often particularly vulnerable to the longest lasting effects of Sandy, experiencing their own distress and absorbing that of those around them. Rebuilding our homes and communities is a priority, but emotional wellbeing is also important.

The Emotional and Spiritual Care subcommittee of the Call to Action Far Rockaway Long Term Recovery Group and the Mental Health Committee of the Queens Recovery Coalition represent organizations offering services promoting emotional and spiritual wellness for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

There is no long term commitment necessary and anyone can benefit from these services. Simply talking out any frustrations regarding the storm can be helpful in emotionally recovery.

Warning Signs

Please recommend these services to anyone you have noticed exhibiting the following warning signs: • Worry and fear during rain storms; • Withdrawing from family and friends; • Having difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly; • Sleeping too much or too little; • Feeling tired most of the time; • Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight; • Talking about feeling hopeless or guilty; • Talking about suicide or death; • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual; • Losing interest in favorite things or activities; • Behaving as if they are always ‘on guard’.

Local Organizations That Are Here To Help

VNSNY’s Disaster Distress Response Program: Free individual or group emotional support and counseling services in your home or community. 718-888-6955.

Friends of Firefighters: Free counseling and wellness services for active and retired FDNY firefighters and families. Contact www.friendsoffirefighters.org or 719-643-0980 – 1-866-339-7717 (24/7 Crisis Hotline).

St John’s Episcopal Hospital/NYC CARES: Free evaluation and counseling for children ages 3-17 who were affected by Sandy. 718-869- 1299.

After Hours Project Disaster Relief Program: Free, confidential mobile counseling services for individuals impacted by Hurricane Sandy residing in Far Rockaway and Broad Channel. To schedule an appointment, contact Leah Dorman, LMSW at 646-670-0599 or ahpdisasterrelief@gmail.com. iHelp Sandy Stress Relief: Free, confidential, and effective online disaster distress counseling with telephone, text, and chat support 24/7. All you need is internet access to: Mha.cobaltcbt.com or if you need access to a computer, call 866-793- 2765 for ones located in your area.


Disaster Distress Helpline: Free, 24 hour, confidential and multilingual helpline for those experiencing emotional distress from disasters. 1- 800-985-5990 and press ‘1’ for Hurricane Sandy’ or text “TalkWithUS” (or ‘Hablanos’ for Spanish speakers) to 66746.

Samaritans of NYC: Free, 24-hour, confidential emotional support hotline, open to anyone. 212-673-3000.

Other Assistance

CAMBA: Free employment counseling, debt and credit assistance, legal help, and case management. Located in Arverne View (formerly Ocean Village). Call 555-555-5555.

Catholic Charities Disaster Case Management: Hurt by Hurricane Sandy? Meet with one of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Disaster Case Managers to answer your questions about recovery and develop a plan to address your unmet needs. Call 718-722-6223 to set up an appointment. Help is here.

Neighborhood Housing Services: Case management, youth build, job readiness and foreclosure help located at 1526 Central Ave. or call 718- 517-6653.

Ocean Bay Community Development Corp: Employment assistance and training, tax preparation, rental assistance, and more. Call 718-945- 8640.

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