Friday, October 14, 2016

State Health Officials Offer Guidance for Stresses of Loss Tied to Hurricane Matthew

Oct 14, 2016

State Mental Health officials in North Carolina encourage individuals experiencing emotional distress from the impacts of Hurricane Matthew to seek assistance.

Feelings such as overwhelming anxiety, constant worrying, trouble sleeping and other depression-like symptoms are common responses before, during and after these types of storms. Other signs of emotional distress related to hurricanes include:

  • Fearing that forecasted storms may develop into a hurricane even when the chances they will are low
  • Increased yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Having thoughts, memories or nightmares related to the storm that you can’t seem to get out of your head

“It’s important for those experiencing depression, anxiety or other emotional distress to get assistance,” said Jason Vogler, Ph.D., Interim Senior Director, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. “There is hope for recovery and we want to help people receive the appropriate supports.”

For people experiencing emotional distress related to a disaster, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers crisis counseling and support through the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or by texting “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

The Disaster Distress Helpline is staffed by trained counselors who provide:

  • Crisis counseling for people in emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster
  • Information on how to recognize distress and its effects on individuals and families
  • Tips for healthy coping

Deaf and Hard of Hearing residents can use their preferred relay service to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990. Assistance is also available in Spanish, call 1-800-985-5990 and press "2" or text “Hablanos” to 66746.


Dial 211 to speak with a trained call specialist about Hurricane Matthew assistance in your area; the service is free, confidential and available in any language. Call 511 for the latest road conditions or check the ReadyNC mobile app, which also has real-time shelter and evacuation information. For updates on Hurricane Matthew impacts and relief efforts, go to or follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook. People or organizations that want to help ensure North Carolina recovers can visit or text NCRecovers to 30306.