The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced that over 200,000 people impacted by Hurricane Florence have been served through the Hope 4 NC behavioral health crisis counseling program since September 2018.
“Long after the hurricane passes and people rebuild their homes, recovery continues on as people cope with, and address, the internal pain and trauma caused by the storm,” said Kody H. Kinsley, DHHS Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. “We are committed to ensuring survivors fully recover both physically and mentally, while working to build lasting resiliency in their homes and communities.”
Hope 4 NC is supported by $17.6 million, which has been granted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This total includes a $12.2 million grant announced by Governor Roy Cooper in April 2019 to expand services following Hurricane Florence.
Hope 4 NC helps people learn coping skills and strategies to reduce the trauma, loss and stress they experience from the storm and employs an on-the-ground approach to crisis counseling. Nearly 200 counselors throughout the most impacted regions provide door-to-door behavioral health outreach, meeting people where they are in the community.
The counselors help people complete risk assessments and connect them to longer term behavioral health support. Outreach and education are coordinated with community programs and partners such as child care organizations, schools, community centers, senior centers, first responders and faith and agricultural communities, among others. Counselors also are available to help with resource needs for special populations, such as children, people with disabilities, farmers and first responders.
“We need to focus on emotional recovery at the same time we rebuild our communities,” said Susan E. Robinson, Suicide Prevention and Crisis Counseling Coordinator for Hope 4 NC with the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. “Our aim is for people to recover well emotionally, stay resilient and be prepared for future events.”
Those in need of assistance can call the Hope 4 NC Crisis Counseling Services Hotline at 1-855-587-3463 (FIND) anytime day or night. Trained Hope 4 NC staff are available 24/7 to listen and link survivors with counseling staff, who can visit in person or facilitate access to more intensive services as needed in their communities. For additional information about behavioral health after a hurricane, please visit https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/disaster-preparation-and-recovery/hurricane-dorian-recovery/behavioral-health-during-and.