LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — A grant for more than $400,000 was awarded to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to ensure disaster-related counseling services are in place for those working to recover in the state.
The crisis counseling program, established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), funds outreach workers who will work to support emotional and psychological recoveries of Nebraskans affected by destructive March flooding.
The program is being implemented by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health with help from the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.
Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders, and Washington counties are included in the grant. Applications have been made in hopes to expand the program to 12 additional counties and the Santee Sioux Nation.
Survivors living in the above counties may call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258. Callers can get advice on how to handle stress relating to disaster, along with referrals to local treatment centers, support groups and community-based organizations.
Trained counselors are also available for in-person assistance, a press release from NEMA says. Counselors have started going door-to-door in the nine counties listed above, offering emotional support to distressed survivors.
Counselors can make several home visits if needed before referring them to longer-term treatment.
Every counselor participating works in pairs. Each carry a badge from Regional Behavioral Health Authorities, who are the contracted mental health providers.