ALBANY, GA (WALB) - While many people are taking care of their homes and businesses, it’s also important to remember your mental health.
Hurricane survivors who previously had a history of depression, bipolar or anxiety may feel their symptoms exacerbated following the storm.
And those who do not have a history of mental health challenges may also feel affected after experiencing the tragedy or seeing the devastation.
Aspire Behavioral Health in Albany wants to help storm survivors cope and share their feelings during this time that may be difficult.
Aspire has a program called the Georgia Recovery Project that is funded by both FEMA and SAMHSA (a federal mental health service) which will provide crisis counselors in the communities Aspire serves all for free.
“Initially after a natural disaster such as Hurricane Michael, we just want to get our staff out in the community," said Babs Hall, Aspire Corporate Compliance Officer.
The purpose is to allow survivors to open up and share what they've been through.
Hall said Aspire staff had a table set up at the Disaster Recovery Center this weekend and said counselors saw about 300 people, a lot more than the January 2017 storms.
"So you are going to see [crisis counselors] go into businesses and they’ll be going to neighborhoods and homes that have been impacted. Literally boots on the ground, door to door, old fashioned outreach,” said Hall.
Crisis counselors will be in Baker, Calhoun, Dougherty, Early, Lee, Miller, Terrell and Worth Counties in the next couple weeks.
Hall said it’s normal to feel sad, anxious or nervous following the hurricane.
Some people may even have headaches, muscle tension, insomnia or nausea for days or weeks afterward.
If you are having difficulty coping, consider doing something positive like donating blood or volunteering.
You should also try to follow your usual daily routine as best as possible--rest, exercise, eat properly.
“One of the most helpful things people can do after they’ve been impacted by a natural disaster is be able to talk about what they’ve been through to talk with other people who have been through a similar situation, but also to talk with professionals.”
If you would like more information about the Georgia Recovery Project you can call 229-430-6037.
You can also call the Georgia Crisis & Access Line 1-800-715-4225.