News Releases

March 16, 2012

Starting Over Strong Vermont: We Are Here To Help

Tropical Storm Irene left unprecedented destruction in its path throughout Vermont this past August. 500 miles of road and 200 bridges were damaged, 13 communities were isolated due to impassable roads, up to 250 million dollars were spent to repair roads, over 7,200 individuals and families applied to FEMA aid, and 1,400 homes were temporarily or permanently displaced. But the real effect of this disaster is not about numbers. It’s about people. Starting Over Strong Vermont (SOS VT) is here to help.

SOS VT deploys teams of crisis support workers throughout communities most impacted by Tropical Storm Irene to conduct community and home-based outreach and psycho-educational services. SOS VT offers free, short-term interventions that promote individual and family recovery to those individuals experiencing distress and/or related emotional and behavioral difficulties from the flood. The program is designed to assist individuals of all ages to better understand why they feel the way they do and how to begin to feel safe and confident again going forward. SOS VT can also help identify and refer individuals who may be in need of more intensive supports.

With over 4,600 people emotionally impacted by the effects of Tropical Storm Irene there is much work to do. Everyday SOS VT staff encounters individuals and groups suffering from anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, and feeling of hopelessness. Unlike the physical realities of their homes, places of work, and fields having been destroyed, the emotional consequences from this destruction may remain invisible to those most affected. Symptoms may include:

-Recurring dreams or nightmares about the storms or floods

-Trouble concentrating or remembering things

-Feeling numb, withdrawn or disconnected

-Having bursts of anger or intense irritability

-Persistent physical symptoms (i.e., headaches, digestive problems, muscle tension, etc.)

-Being overprotective of your family’s safety

-Avoiding reminders of the storm or flood

-Being tearful or crying for no apparent reason

SOS VT has community events and support groups planned throughout the state in an effort to combat these emotional wounds from Tropical Storm Irene. Gathering and connecting with others who have been impacted by Tropical Storm Irene can be useful in not feeling so alone.

Wilmington Story Circle

March 16th, 7:00-9:00pm

1 School St., Wilmington, VT

Twin Valley High School Library, Wilmington, VT

Story Circles are unique because they bring people together to bear witness to the experience of others. Share your Tropical Storm Irene experience with others: come tell your story. Free to the public. Refreshments will be served. Kids will have their own activity tables. Call: 802-579-7649.

Hurricane Irene Support Group

March 19th, 11am-12:00noon

(Ongoing Every Monday)

Ayers Brook Center

35 Ayers Brook Rd., Randolph, VT

Sponsored by CVCAV and the 3rd Branch LTR

Come share your story, listen to others, learn coping skills, build community, and support your neighbors. Refreshments will be provided.

Call: 802-279-7697.

Hurricane Irene Support Group for Recovery Workers

March 19th, 3:30pm

(Ongoing every other Monday)

Unitarian Church, 130 Main Street, Montpelier, VT

Peer support, processing emotions, strengthening relationships, learn coping skills.

Call: 802-279-4670.

Hurricane Irene Support Group

March 19th, 5:30pm-6:30pm

(Ongoing Every Monday)

Rochester High School Library

222 Main St., Rochester, VT

Come share your story, listen to others, learn coping skills, build community, and support your neighbors. Refreshments will be provided.

Call: 802-279-7697.

Hurricane Irene Support Group

March 21st, 6:00pm

(Ongoing March 28th, April 4th, and April 11th)

For Northfield Area Residents

168 Wall St, Northfield VT

Come share your story, listen to others, learn coping skills, build community, and support your neighbors. Refreshments will be provided.

Call: 802-279-8246.

The People’s Spa Day

March 24th, 1-4pm

Open to anyone impacted by the Irene Flooding. Free of charge.

Montpelier Community Acupuncture

79 Main St., Montpelier, VT

Come learn relaxation techniques, ways to reduce insomnia, and strengthen immunity with herbs and food. All techniques learned at this workshop can be done at home. Local holistic practitioners will be available for free “mini-sessions”.

All herbs used in the workshop are donated by the herbalist

Please RSVP to Christina Ducharme. Call: 802-279-4670 or email christinad@wcmhs.org.

Hurricane Irene Support Group

March 29th, 6:00pm

(Ongoing: April 26th, May 24th)

For Waterbury Area Residents

St. Leo’s Hall, Waterbury, VT

Come share your story, listen to others, learn coping skills, build community, and support your neighbors. Refreshments will be provided.

Call: 802-279-4670.

Remembering Irene Social

March 29th, 5pm-7pm

(Ongoing: April 12th)

Crazy Russian Girl Bakery

Main St., Bennington

Come gather and tell your Tropical Irene story and meet others affected by the storm.

Crazy Russian Girl Bakery is donating cookies and beverages.

Kids will have their own activity tables. Call: 518-225-3170.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing distress or symptoms from the flooding please call SOS VT’s toll-free number for help, 1-855-767-8800, or visit our website at www.startingoverstrongvermont.org. SOS VT is supported by FEMA grant funding and is administered by Washington County Mental Health Services in conjunction with other designated mental health agencies and community services in the hardest hit regions of our State.

The numbers describing Tropical Storm Irene’s destruction provided by: www.anr.state.vt.us/anr/climatechange/irenebythenumbers.html.

Source: Department of Public Service
Last Updated at: March 16, 2012 13:58:42