FEMA aid available for fire-related counseling | PostIndependent.com

FEMA aid available for fire-related counseling

The federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded Colorado $125,000 to provide counseling for people who have been affected by summer wildfires.

The counseling is available to anyone who lives in any of Colorado’s 56 counties that have been declared disaster areas, and two Indian reservations, said a FEMA press release.

“People in the declared areas have had their lives severely affected by the wildfire,” said Steve Emory, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer.

According to mental health workers, the emotional consequences of disasters can be long-lasting and far-reaching. Stress can surface in many forms, and it often appears weeks or months after a traumatic event.

“Dealing with problems caused by disasters wears on people,” said Tom Grier, FEMA’s state coordinating officer. “Keeping stress levels down as the recovery continues is no easy task. We see more physical stress-related symptoms when people are exhausted.”

Grier said disaster victims are likely to experience at least one of several emotional responses: anger, confusion, disorientation, fatigue, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, nightmares, depression, inability to concentrate, hyperactivity, or increased alcohol or drug use.

“The emotional toll that disaster brings can sometimes be even more devastating to people than the financial strains due to damage or loss of their home,” Grier said.

FEMA calls its counseling program the Community Recover Project. For more information, call Colorado West Mental Health at 945-2583.

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