FEMA approves COVID-19 counseling for four states

Published: May. 2, 2020 at 5:25 PM CDT
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FEMA has approved four states within FEMA Region 8 for development of crisis counseling programs for residents struggling with stress and anxiety as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The assistance is being made available to Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah and is available under major disaster declarations previously approved for these states by President Trump. With the approvals, FEMA will continue to support these states on establishing their programs and approve submitted plans.

The state programs will be funded by FEMA but will use local providers to deliver the counseling services. As the state programs are approved, additional information will be made available for how individuals can seek this crisis counseling assistance.

“Approval of the crisis counseling assistance will help take care of people’s mental health during this stressful time,” said FEMA Region 8 Administrator Lee dePalo.

The Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training program is funded by FEMA and overseen by FEMA in coordination with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The program assists individuals and communities in recovering from the psychological effects of natural and human-caused disasters through community-based outreach and educational services.

The program helps people understand their current situation and reactions and supports short-term interventions focused on mitigating stress, promoting the use or development of coping strategies, providing emotional support, and encouraging links with other individuals and agencies who may help survivors in their recovery process.

People who seek help through the program remain anonymous. Crisis counselors do not keep individual records or case files and avoid classifying, labeling, or diagnosing individuals in any way.

Due to the COVID-19 nationwide emergency and the need to protect the safety and health of all Americans, crisis counseling will be delivered by phone, internet, and the media (including social media).

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