NORTHEASTERN, N.C. – A North Carolina couple was displaced by flooding after Hurricane Matthew, and along with the visible damage, the emotional toll of trying to recover from the flooding is what needed to also be supported.
Enters HOPE 4 NC, who through federal funding helped the couple connect with counseling and legal aid, which they needed after a contractor left repairs incomplete and left them accruing debt.
More than 16,000 people in the Tar Heels state participated in the crisis counseling program through HOPE 4 NC, which ran through December 2017 to help them cope with the effects felt by Hurricane Matthew.
Some North Carolinians experienced prolonged trauma and anxiety as they grappled with the storm damage. With this, North Carolina set up the HOPE 4 NC program to assist those in need, according to state officials.
Those who received counseling lived in Bladen County, Columbus County, Cumberland County, Edgecombe County, Lenoir County, Robeson County, Sampson County and Wayne County.
“Much of the success of being able to reach so many people in only 11 months is because of the collaborative partnerships that were formed,” said Lisa Haire, associate director of quality management and operations for North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMH/DD/SAS) DMH/DD/SAS.
Hope 4 NC connected people with crisis counseling resources provided by Alliance Behavioral Healthcare and Eastpointe, the Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs) who deliver the state’s behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disability services in the affected counties. The Emergency Management division of the NC Department of Public Safety (DPS) worked to identify where these services were needed most.
HOPE 4 NC promoted the counseling services provided by utilizing flyers, business cards and door hangers to communicate information about the crisis counseling being provided. Social media messaging and government websites also provided information about how to get assistance, and outreach was done anywhere people gathered – schools, businesses, government offices and community events, according to officials.
The FEMA funded group carried out the Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program, a supplemental assistance program offering mental health assistance and training activities in disaster areas.
A variety of federal agencies collaborated through an interagency agreement to provide technical assistance, consultation and training for state and local mental health personnel, grant administration and program oversight.