Category 5 Hurricane Irma devastated communities across the Caribbean and southern United States with sustained wind speeds of up to 185 mph. The destruction, flooding, and chaos of a hurricane can leave communities extremely vulnerable to injury, family separation, and water-borne diseases. RMF remains on standby to provided critical counseling and psychosocial support services for individuals suffering profound stress. RMF will support communities through the long-term recovery process.
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 trauma for children 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.