FEMA Region 3 has awarded nearly $2 million to help fund crisis counseling services for people struggling with mental health issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 25, Pennsylvania had received $754,391.
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 them recover.
“The pandemic and its effects have created so many new challenges for people, and it’s understandable that not everyone has all the strategies or emotional resources needed to cope right now,” said Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney of FEMA Region 3. “Crisis counseling can help give people the skills, and hope they need to get through this unprecedented situation.”
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, the crisis counseling will be delivered by phone, internet and the media (including social media).