Chai Lifeline, the international children’s health support network and an acknowledged expert in the field of crisis intervention, and Achiezer, the Rockaways/Five Towns community resource center, have joined forces to help area families, schools, and institutions cope with mental health crises and emotional discomfort resulting from Hurricane Sandy. Help is available now at 1-855-3CRISIS.
The organizations are collaborating on a free hotline for families, schools, and communal organizations. They are distributing suggestions for school administrators and teachers for assisting students who show evidence of post-traumatic stress. Guidelines for families are being disseminated at stores throughout the area.
“This has been a life-changing event for many families accustomed to being on the giving side,” said Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president of Chai Lifeline. “They have seen their homes, and sometimes their businesses, devastated by the storm. We are extremely concerned and want to help in every way possible.”
Dr. Norman Blumenthal, a psychologist and Five Towns resident who directs Chai Lifeline’s Department of Crisis Intervention and Bereavement, noted that signs of stress and trauma may become evident even weeks after the storm. “It’s possible that parents or teachers will only see the signs of trauma when life returns to normal. Adults shouldn’t be surprised if they or their children exhibit symptoms of anxiety or fear weeks later. Professional help is available, and no one should hesitate to ask for assistance,” he emphasized.
For more information, call the hotline at 1-855-3CRISIS or contact Chai Lifeline’s Department of Crisis Intervention at [email protected]. Copies of the suggestions and guidelines will also be posted at www.chailifeline.org.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)