Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hurricane-related mental health resources available

Last Wednesday, December 7th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a national public service announcement (PSA) campaign to encourage adults and first responders who may be experiencing emotional distress following the recent hurricanes to seek mental health services.

Research on the mental health consequences of major floods and hurricanes suggests that the psychological impact of these disasters could be widespread, serious, and long-lasting. Experts estimate the numbers affected by the recent events to be substantial. The holidays may be especially difficult for hurricane victims, as the personal losses of community and loved ones become more real.

HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is leading the PSA campaign in partnership with the Ad Council. As a complement to the campaign, SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) created a Hurricane Mental Health Awareness Campaign Web site http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/disasterrelief/ where visitors can view the PSAs and obtain disaster-related resources that include:

* Brochures and fact sheets to help parents, families, educators, and
other caregivers care for their own and their children's mental health during a disaster.
* Guidelines for first responders and relief workers.
* Best practices, reports, and policy guidelines for program planners.

* Links to State and local disaster relief agencies and referrals.
* A 24-hour service hotline.
* Other mental health and substance abuse facility locator services.

Some resources also have Spanish translations.

SAMHSA/CMHS National Mental Health Information Center's call center (1-800-789-2647; 866-889-2647-TDD) is offering extended service hours to accommodate consumer need at this time. Assistance and bilingual information services are now available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12 a.m., EST.

All resources on the Hurricane Mental Health Awareness Campaign Web site http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/disasterrelief/ are offered as a no-cost public service to consumers. You can link to any of these resources or post the content to your Web site with a link back to the National Mental Health Information Center's Web site as your source.

To order copies of print publications, go to http://store.mentalhealth.org/publications/ordering.aspx or contact the call center.



SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Center



SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Center's Web site http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov and call center (1-800-789-2647; 866-889-2647-TDD) offer users of mental health services-families, the general public, policymakers, providers, and the media-reliable information and resources to support mental health needs and objectives. These services are administered through SAMHSA's CMHS division.

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