Emotional Support for Hurricane Survivors

New Jersey MentalHealthCares Helpline
Help with the emotional toll of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath is available to NJ residents. The Mental Health Association in New Jersey operates the New Jersey MentalHealthCares Helpline. The Helpline serves as a gateway to clinical outpatient mental health and addiction services as well as inpatient substance use disorder services for survivors of Superstorm Sandy. Callers may receive supportive counseling, crisis assessment and intervention, and when needed connection to appropriate resources and services.

Stress can surface in many forms and often appears weeks or months after a traumatic event. It may include anger, fatigue, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, nightmares, depression, inability to concentrate, hyperactivity and/or increased alcohol or drug use. If you or someone you know is experiencing distress or feeling overwhelmed by painful emotions related to recent events, call the New Jersey MentalHealthCares' Disaster Helpline: 1-866-202-4357 (HELP). A TTY line is available at (877) 294-4356. Translation services are available as well.

Monmouth County Long-Term Recovery Group Emotional and Spiritual Resource Guide
This guide provides a comprehensive listing of resources for residents of Monmouth County who are in need of emotional or spiritual support. All services are free unless otherwise noted. Download the guide here.

The Red Bank Resource Network and Sandy Wellness Program is being offered by the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County. Through this program free counseling, information and referrals for individuals and families is available in English and Spanish at four different locations. Learn more. Call 732.542.6422 for further information.

Path to Renewal
Ocean Mental Health Services is offering a new service for individuals experiencing trauma as a result of Hurricane Sandy. This trauma specific service may be offered on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting, depending upon an individual's needs.

OceanMHS also has speakers to meet with groups including parent/teacher organizations, workplace in-serivces, Hurricane Sandy volunteers, community centers and more. These presentations will include information regarding signs of trauma, coping skills, stress management, and community mental health resources. Topics can be added upon request.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Jessica Husko at 732.228.0486 or Susan Calavano at 732.221.1492.

Disaster Distress Helpline
The Disaster Distress Helpline is a national hotline that may be reached at 800.985.5990. Helpline staff provide immediate crisis counseling and help to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. You can also text "TalkWithUs" to 66746 and begin the process of recovery. TTY for Deaf/Hearing Impaired: 800.846.8517

Emotional Support for Children of All Ages

Teens troubled by all that is happening around them can reach out to the 2NDFLOOR - a confidential and anonymous helpline for NJ's youth and young adults ranging in age from 10 to 24. It is open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. Youth can either call the helpline using a toll-free number, 888.222.2228, or access the interactive website. Calls to the 2NDFLOOR youth helpline are anonymous and confidential except in life-threatening situations.

The service is designed for listening, helping and guiding youth with their concerns. The phone lines are staffed by licensed professionals and trained volunteers (who are closely supervised and guided by social workers and professional counselors.) Hearing impaired callers, can reach 2NDFLOOR at the following TTY number: 732.264.1703.

Further Reading
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's Disaster Resource Center's website provides an overview of children's reactions to disasters, how to talk with children about a disaster, and when to be concerned about a child's response, including potential signs of PTSD in children.

Helping Children after a Disaster provides suggestions for how to talk to children about natural disasters.

Recovery After a Hurricane is a good basic overall resource for parents and caregivers about hurricanes, their impact on children and families, what parents, teachers and others can do to help children cope with hurricanes, as well as activities for children and adolescents. The site's Description, Readiness, and Response tabs offer additional information.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network Manual of Psychological First Aid: Appendix E consists of a series of handouts that cover possible adult reactions to disasters and inappropriate/appropriate coping mechanisms, parenting tips for helping specific age groups cope with disaster, and tips for adults regarding drug and alcohol use and relaxation in confronting disaster.

Help for Families of Children with Special Needs
Parents Guidelines for Helping Children After a Hurricane
Watch how Big Bird responds to his lost nest in a portrayal of recovery after a hurricane hits Sesame Street.

Page last modified/reviewed on April 18, 2016

If you know of additional resources that would be appropriate to include in this section, please let us know by contacting us via e-mail at info@nj211.org

back to top