Project rebound aims to help with hidden needs

Published 12:49 am Monday, November 22, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
Many people recognize that Escambia County's recovery from Hurricane Ivan will be a long process.
But, while many focus on the physical damage of trees and homes, there are those who may be suffering in less obvious ways as well.
Aiding those people is the focus of a new recovery effort in Escambia County called Project Rebound.
With the help of a federal grant, the Alabama Department of Mental Health is sending teams of counselors to homes across the county for free crisis counseling.
Vivian Taite and Sandra Gibson are working in Escambia County. "We're going door-to-door, using E911 maps. We want to hit everyone," Taite said.
Donna Couture, coordinator for the 11-county effort, said outreach is the program's goal. "Our teams are going door-to-door to assist individuals and provide referral services if necessary," she said.
Taite said her team has already hit Brewton, Flomaton and Poarch. "We've done quite a few referrals (to available services), and we've been finding some who haven't filed with FEMA," she said. "A lot of people don't realize they can still apply for service, or they think the SBA loan packets the only thing they can apply for."
Project Rebound is also working in conjunction with the county's Long Term Recovery committee to help residents who still have unmet needs.
As far as the mental and emotional needs, Taite and Gibson said they are finding a lot of people who are angry, for a number of reasons. In addition to the referrals, the team is also "just trying to provide as much information as possible," they said.
Adults react to disaster-related stress in different ways, according to mental health experts. Fear, disbelief, reluctance to leave the home and overwhelmed feelings, trouble with eating, sleeping or nightmares and a number of other emotions can stricke.
Children can be the most frightened by hurricanes. They can react by acting out, fear of being left alone, bed-wetting, nightmares and fear of the dark and other behaviors, experts said.
"No one should be ashamed because they need emotional support, particularly during times of crisis," said Acquanetta Knight, disaster coordinator for the Alabama Department of Mental Health. "Experiencing loss following a traumatic event is normal. Talking to someone can be very helpful."
If you feel you need counseling, call 1-866-756-7834 any time, 24 hours a day to leave your information.

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