The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering crisis counseling to anybody feeling anxiety over the COVID-19 issues. The service is available by telephone through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services’ Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. Spanish speakers call 1-800-985-5990 and press “2” or text Hablanos to 66746 from all 50 states.
FEMA also announced approval of 30 states and the District of Columbia for its Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training program. The program helps fund state-provided crisis counseling services to residents struggling with stress and anxiety as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
FEMA previously funded crisis counseling in six states:
- $1.6 million to California
- $464,000 to Massachusetts
- $371,000 to Michigan
- $882,000 to New Jersey
- $1.3 million to New York
- $2.1 million to Washington
While FEMA also approved the program in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas, funding is under review.
President Trump delegated authority to FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor to approve requests for the program in order to speed assistance to those in need.
The Administrator approved requests for: some of the hardest-hit states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
FEMA’s Crisis Counseling program helps people and communities to recover from the effects of natural or man-made disasters through short-term interventions that provide emotional support, crisis counseling, and connection to familial and community support systems.
Due to the COVID-19 nationwide emergency and the need to protect the safety and health of all Americans, crisis counseling services will be delivered by phone, internet and social media.