DENVER — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved four states, including Utah, for development of crisis counseling programs for residents struggling with stress and anxiety as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The assistance is being made available to Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah and is available under major disaster declarations previously approved for these states by President Donald Trump.
With the approvals, FEMA will continue to support these states on establishing their programs and approve submitted plans. The state programs will be funded by FEMA but will use local providers to deliver the counseling services. As the state programs are approved, additional information will be made available for how individuals can seek this crisis counseling assistance.
“Approval of the crisis counseling assistance will help take care of people’s mental health during this stressful time,” said FEMA Region 8 Administrator Lee dePalo.
In Utah, mental health resources are available by calling 211 for the 2-1-1 helpline. In cooperation with the state, Intermountain Health is also running a free hotline for mental health issues related to COVID-19 at 833-442-2211.
The Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training program is funded by FEMA and overseen by FEMA in coordination with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The program assists individuals and communities in recovering from the psychological effects of natural and human caused disasters through community-based outreach and educational services.
SAMHSA has its own disaster stress helpline at 800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
People who seek help through the program remain anonymous. Crisis counselors do not keep individual records or case files and avoid classifying, labeling or diagnosing individuals in any way.
Additional mental health resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at coronavirus.utah.gov/Mental-health/.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.