Wednesday, August 28, 2019Preparing for natural disasters such as those that could be brought by Hurricane Dorian approaching Puerto Rico can be overwhelming and can seriously affect emotional health. It is common to experience anxiety and depression-like symptoms tied to worrying about the chance of damage or injury. 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 prior to and after such severe storm activity. 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 Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). "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 SAMHSA, the 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/.