RI HOPE team members visit neighborhoods, and attend community events providing guidance, emotional support, information and referrals. Outreach workers assist those most affected by the flood by informing them about common disaster reactions, teaching them coping skills, assessing their individual needs and linking them to appropriate community resources or agencies that may be able to help. If an individual is willing, the program can provide short-term support for individuals or families by providing guidance and motivation through follow-up calls or visits.
How outreach helps
Research has shown that 15% - 20% of people impacted by trauma, such as a flood, may continue to experience stress reactions for quite some time after a disaster. Natural disasters can result in emotional distress as well as property damage. After experiencing a traumatic event, such as a flood, it is very common - in fact quite normal - for people to experience a wide range of emotional or physical reactions. These responses may appear immediately after the event or some time later. They may last for a few days, a few weeks, or longer. These are normal reactions to an abnormal situation.
Stress reactions may be physical, emotional or cognitive in nature. Chronic fatigue, fear, headaches, difficulty prioritizing or making decisions, anxiety, and increased irritability are just some of the common disaster responses that might occur. It is important to understand that for most people, these reactions will run their course and they will feel better in time.
Effects of Multiple Stressors
You may be dealing with more than one stressor such as the loss of a loved one, job loss or financial difficulties in addition to the effects of the flood. Significant stressors impact physical and emotional health over time. Having someone reach out to listen and help you explore your options can help you gain control over the situation and may reduce the physical and emotional impact of the trauma.
It's OK to ask for help
If you are anxious about a health risk or your emotions following the storms and flooding in March and April of 2010, talk to someone you know who can help. This may be a doctor , a friend, clergy/spiritual care member, teacher or a mental health clinician. If you or someone you know is having difficulty managing his or her feelings, seek help from a medical or mental health professional. If you would like referral information to the Community Mental Health Center in your area, call the RI Council of Community Mental Health Centers at 401-228-7990 or find them on the web at www.riccmho.org.
Additional Guidance Available
Trusted Resources section of our website. Tip sheets, educational materials, and disaster behavioral health information Information to help you understand your own reactions or a loved one's reactions
How to be prepared for emergencies. Information about making a plan, being informed about emergencies that can happen in your area, and learning the right responses.
We can talk to you about other referral services or you can contact them directly:
United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island
United Way 2-1-1 is a 24/7 information and referral source that connects people to services for veterans, the elderly, the disabled, and domestic abuse victims. Referrals to food, shelter, family counseling and many more resources are also available through 2-1-1. 2-1-1 also has been designated the emergency information and referral number by the State in the event of a natural disaster such as a flood or hurricane.
Sometimes, an event is too powerful to handle on your own and professional assistance may be necessary. The Disaster Distress Helpline is a free resource that is available for immediate assistance and support. The Helpline is accessible year-round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anyone seeking emotional help can call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. The Helpline can also be accessed at http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. If you need help, please dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The Substance Abuse Helpline
The Substance Abuse Helpline can help individuals struggling with the use of alcohol and other drugs find support, referrals, placement assessments, free referrals for drug addiction and alcohol abuse counseling, free insurance verifications, free scholarship location assistance, and financing information. For help, call (866) 313-3306. Assistance is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
In an emergency, always dial 9-1-1