American Red Cross offers mental health assistance after crises

11/08/2017 - SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(ABC4 News) When disasters and crises like hurricanes, and the Las Vegas and Texas shootings happen, the American Red Cross steps in to provide food and shelter for victims. But The Red Cross also plays a big role in mental health rehabilitation after such traumatic events occur. Olivia Moreton, Disaster Mental Health Supervisor with the Utah Red Cross, joined Brian Carlson to talk more about how they help in these situations.

Moreton says the ripple effect of these events are astounding. The Red Cross has just now closed the last case from the Oklahoma City bombings in 1991. She says everyone is different in how they deal with tragedy, and it takes each person a different amount of time to recover. 

Part of mental health recovery is taking care of physical needs as well, says Moreton. Making sure they are safe, comforted, and have a place to live helps victims feel less anxiety, allowing them to start to heal.  She says once physical needs normalize, generally their emotions normalize.

Sleep difficulties and anger are some of the issues The Red Cross helps victims overcome. Financial assistance is provided, if necessary, to start the mental health process, ongoing therapy, and referrals are offered. Sometimes people are afraid to reach out because of the stigma of mental health, but Moreton says it's normal to feel vulnerable. She recommends taking advantage of the "opportunity to do the best you can for yourself."

If you, or anyone you know needs mental health assistance, call the Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990, or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746.

You can also visit their website at RedCross.org/local/Utah.


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