Mental Health

Extreme weather events can affect mental health in many ways. Anybody who has to leave their house for several days because it has been flooded knows this. Anybody who has had severe damage to their property, or who had friends or family members that were injured in extreme weather knows this. It can feel very overwhelming. Experiencing an extreme weather even can lead to a lot of stress, feeling depressed, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. This is so common that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers grants to local organizations to provide counseling with post disaster distress. In other words, providing ‘mental health first aid’ is very important after extreme weather events. There have been a few names for it including Project Recovery and Project Hope. There was a Project Recovery in Illinois after the 1993 Mississippi River floods and the 1996 floods in the Aurora area as well as in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. New York had Project Hope after Hurricane Sandy to help people who were distressed after the disaster. All were funded by FEMA to help these extreme weather event victims cope with the experience of going through the event and the stress of the aftermath.

Project HOPE offered confidential crisis counseling services to New Yorkers after Hurricane Sandy. It was created to help individuals, families, and groups cope after the storm and provided individual and group counseling, public education, assessments and referrals, and linkage to appropriate resources.  It was funded through a grant by FEMA.