Thursday, May 23, 2019Natural disasters such as the tornado activity in Missouri that has killed three people and has injured dozens more can be overwhelming and seriously affect emotional health. Before, during and after extreme weather activity such as tornadoes and hurricanes, the Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990 can provide immediate counseling to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by a natural disaster. The Helpline is a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, free, multilingual and confidential service that provides crisis counseling and support to those impacted by natural disasters. Helpline specialists are trained to assist callers with a range of symptoms. “People who have been through a traumatic event can experience anxiety, worry or insomnia,” said Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. “People seeking emotional help in the aftermath of a disaster can now call 1-800-985-5990 or can text TalkWithUs to 66746 and begin the process of recovery.” Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Disaster Helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the nationwide network of centers. The Helpline staff will provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services. More on the Helpline is available at http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/.