October 24, 2013 – The Health Department today launched an ad campaign highlighting the free, confidential crisis counseling services still available to help New Yorkers cope with the effects of Hurricane Sandy. As the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches, Project Hope crisis counselors can provide emotional support and help people find ways to cope with the traumatic impact the storm had on their lives. The ads, which highlight the hope and resilience of New Yorkers, will run in subway cars beginning this week through the month of January.
"For the many New Yorkers whose lives were changed by the storm, the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy can trigger distress,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “These feelings can seem overwhelming. If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-LIFENET to connect with Project Hope services. And be sure to reach out to your friends and neighbors affected by the storm to see how they and their children are doing.”
Project Hope counseling sessions began in November 2012 and are available to anyone by calling 1-800-LIFENET. To date, 55% of adults and 62% of children reported experiencing sadness, irritability, anxiety or fear during crisis counseling sessions.In 65% of Project Hope encounters conducted between May 29 and September 21, crisis counselors referred survivors to resources including: community resources to help with rebuilding (44%), additional crisis counseling (35%) and mental health services (3%). For adults and children who continue to experience distress, Project Hope counselors can help them find additional mental health services in the community and also provide tools to better manage stress and build back their lives.
More than 300 Project Hope crisis counselors are available to help. Project Hope staff have been using Skills for Psychological Recovery, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration supported program, to build practical emotional skills post disaster to help survivors problem solve, reconnect with others in their community and take the next steps in their recovery.
New York City counselors can speak with both individuals and groups, and counselors who speak Spanish, Russian, Cantonese Mandarin, Arabic and other languages are available. Sixteen organizations with experience in crisis counseling are working in schools and daycares, NYCHA buildings, with community organizations, and faith-based groups to identify and connect with people in need.
How to Cope with the Anniversay of Hurricane Sandy
- Recognize your strength and how far you have come since Hurricane Sandy
- Be patient with yourself – it may take time to cope with a traumatic event
- Connect with others – be a caring neighbor, reach out to an old friend, spend time with your family
- Take time to talk with your children and carefully listen to what they have to say about how they are feeling after the storm
Project Hope is a program of the New York State Office of Mental Health that is administered by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), funded by FEMA and delivered to New York City residents with oversight by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
If you feel overwhelmed, call 1-800-LIFENET to connect with a Project Hope provider agency in your community. LIFENET is a free, confidential helpline for New York City residents, available 24/7 with trained staff ready to take your calls: 1-800-543-3638 (English), 1-877-298-3373 (Spanish), 1-877-990-8585 (Chinese).
For more information about Project Hope, visit nyc.gov.