Category 4 Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas on August 25, 2017. 350,000 people, many uninsured, have registered for disaster assistance. Personal resilience is critical in the moment of rescue, but when the magnitude of loss sinks in, feelings of being overwhelmed and distraught often leave survivors feeling confused, lost, and alone. For many, the fear, trauma, and loss experienced during Hurricane Harvey will result in emotional scars that may last for years to come.
The project focuses on communities in the affected area to help minimize the "psychological disaster after the disaster." For the next 12 months, RMF will support first responders, children, and adults and work with schools, faith-based groups, and businesses to provide screening and assessment, psychosocial support, counseling, public education (including parent education on child trauma and response strategies), community strengthening activities, and information and referral services.
Long after the water has receded and homes have been rebuilt, the stress and anxiety that accompany disasters of this magnitude 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. In the short-term, this project is a disaster response, while its community strengthening will have a long-term impact.