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United States: Hurricane Harvey Psychological Trauma Support Project

Starting Implementation of Psychological Trauma Support: December 2017

December 23, 2017

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​Our project focuses on communities in the affected area to help minimize the “disaster after the disaster” and get community members back on their feet.


RMF's Presence

Collaborating to Provide Care
Our project focuses on communities in the affected area to help minimize the “disaster after the disaster” and get community members back on their feet.

Real Medicine Foundation is an international NGO with an excellent track record in psychological trauma support . We believe that “real medicine” focuses on treating the person as a whole, providing medical/physical, emotional, social, and economic support. To care for victims of Hurricane Harvey, we are collaborating with Organizational Resilience International (a partner since Hurricane Katrina) to implement a 3-phase psychological support project for Hurricane Harvey victims in the Houston area.  


Current Situation

Psychological Trauma Support
Nearly 3 months after the storm devastated the Houston area, the need for psychological support has become glaringly important. As basic needs are increasingly met via short-term support from government and nonprofit aid agencies, the emotional impacts of such disasters begin to surface. The road back to stabilization will be years long for many in the region. For this reason, the timing of our psychological support team's efforts couldn't be better. 
 

Beginning Implementation

Training Local Ministers
In order to reach as many people as possible and to assure the delivery of services specifically designed and targeted for the recipients, we are working closely with representatives of the Christian Church in the Southwest (CCSW), an organization covering New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Oklahoma.
 
The RMF team has begun providing consultations to ministers across the affected area, and will be offering several trainings to ministers and religious leaders from around the impacted area over the coming months. The trainings are designed to help leaders recognize some of the long-term impacts of traumatic events and to offer resources and tools so they can better support their community members.
 
By working with ministers, community leaders, and community members in this way, providing them with support and additional training to help others, RMF will multiply the effect of our psychological support project and help strengthen whole communities. 
 

 

 

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Background

Category 4 Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas on Friday, August 25, 2017. By Wednesday, some areas had received over 47 inches of rain and flooding, and by Thursday, August 31, 2017, the storm had killed at least 44 people and damaged or destroyed 48,700 homes. 350,000 people, many uninsured, have registered for disaster assistance.

For many, the fear, trauma, and loss experienced during Hurricane Harvey will result in emotional scars that may last for years to come. Long after the water has receded and homes have been rebuilt, the stress and anxiety that accompany disasters of this size and scope will remain. Research indicates that suicide rates, substance abuse, and violence frequently increase in the aftermath of community-wide disasters. Putting life back together in the form of a “new normal” is an emotionally overwhelming process. Our project will focus on communities in the affected area to help minimize the “disaster after the disaster” and get community members back on their feet.


Objectives
  • Parent education on the impact of trauma on children and response strategies
  • Psychosocial support for medical staff
  • Training of local professionals on the impact of disasters
  • School-based interventions
  • Counseling
  • Public education
  • Social networking to build community
  • Information and referral
  • Written materials (multilingual)
  More Reports on:
Hurricane Harvey Psychological Trauma Support Project
        Country Page: United States
        Initiative Page: Hurricane Harvey Psychological Trauma Support Project
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