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Mental Health

Photo Credit: Panca Satrio Nugroho

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 event 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.

There have been a few names for these grants 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. In New York after Hurricane Sandy, Project HOPE offered confidential crisis counseling services, helped individuals, families, and groups cope after the storm, and provided individual and group counseling, public education, assessments and referrals, and linkage to appropriate resources. 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. This immediate support is often referred to as mental health first aid.

Climate Change & Health Equity