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Portraits of Sandy: Mental Health Amid Storm Impact

New Jersey Mental Health Association, Ocean County Health Department weigh in

From Andrew Kitchenman, reporting for NJ Spotlight:

People struggling with mental health issues like anxiety and depression have a difficult time under the best of circumstances. Now imagine them trying to cope after being forced from their homes for more than 10 days -- part of that time without their medications.

Michele Green-Ferrante, a program director at the New Jersey Mental Health Association, doesn't have to imagine. She's working with 20 clients displaced from their Toms River-area homes by Hurricane Sandy, helping them find places to stay and pharmacies that can fill their prescriptions.

“A lot of folks came here very quickly and did not have their medication,” Green-Ferrante said.

While New Jersey’s healthcare system plans for emergencies, providers have often had to make decisions on the fly throughout the crisis. And that exacts a toll: Some residents and providers have faced more than a week of unrelieved stress.

State and local health officials emphasized that mental health and other resources are readily available for those who are in need of help.

Leslie Terjesen, spokeswoman for the Ocean County Department of Health, said she advises patience for those who still can’t return to potentially damaged homes, while admitting that the advice is difficult to both take and give.

For the full article from NJ Spotlight, click here.

foggyworld November 20, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I live in one of the disaster zones and the only really competent shrink I know is too ill for me to ask him to set up a blog here to help people cope. I do know another wonderful psychologist who is a neighbor and has her hands full but I am going to talk to her to see if we can't start a blog where people can throw on the table with their neighbors the real and profound effects all of this is having on most of us. In the meantime, try letting it out with a friend or even a stranger because we have to let the pain go. It will take time and together we may get there faster. I was widowed at 36 and know that if wasn't for the love and support and ability to say what was on my mind at the time, I never would have made it. Churches can help but it's often hard for ministers when so many are impacted at one time. Just know you aren't alone and if you need to talk to someone find an official outlet or at one point I broke down in tears in Walmart and got some amazingly good advice from a woman I didn't know. But don't keep it inside because it will just fester and make things so much worse.
Keeping whats mine November 21, 2012 at 09:38 PM
What happened was a tragic. But lets think about it. We live in an area with NOTHING but water around us. We build on the beach. Its low areas.These kind of storms dont just happen elsewhere. We gotta pull it together or go to higher land.

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