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Disaster Distress Helpline Available For Those In Irma's Path

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LA Johnson/NPR

As Hurricane Irma works its way to Florida's coast, feelings of stress and anxiety may also be brewing for those anticipating its effects.

A national hotline wants to help you.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline is available for immediate counseling to anyone affected by the impending hurricane and storms in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The helpline connects callers to trained professionals from the closest crisis counseling center. Those answering the phones can provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services.

“When disaster strikes, people react with increased anxiety, worry, and anger. With community and family support, most of us bounce back. Some may need extra assistance to cope with unfolding events and uncertainties,” said Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. 

The call center is toll-free, multilingual and can be reached by phone or online. To contact the disaster distress helpline call 1-800-985-5990.