Mental health support for tornado survivors

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 6:25 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2021 at 4:31 AM CST
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WESTERN Ky. (KFVS) - A national organization that offers mental health counseling for disaster survivors is in Graves County to help those in need of crisis support.

Americares team leader Sambhavi Cheemalapati said, “Take care of yourself. Really recognize that this will take time. It will take time for you to heal.”

She said it’s important for tornado survivors to value the status of their mental health.

“Once we learned about the disaster in Mayfield, we mobilized our response team,” she said. “So that way we could provide psychological first aid and crisis intervention to support people in need.”

Once in town, they evaluated their surroundings.

“The first part of the response is always to try to talk to local leaders, the authorities and other first responders. Make sure that we understand what the lay of the land is so that we are not duplicating services and we are actually collaborating and coordinating effectively.”

The Americares Mobile Wellness trailer is set up in the parking lot next to Princess Theaters off Paris Road in Mayfield, Kentucky. Mental health specialists are on-site to help anyone in need of mental health support.

“So, we went to the emergency operation center and talked to folks. We also went to some of the different shelter sites to make sure they understood that we’re here and we also understood what they might see as needs.”

And in a time where everyone is hurting, she said her mental health specialists are there to serve everyone.

“Including first responders. This not only affects the people who lost their homes or lost families or lost possessions. But it also affects all the people that are providing services to them. Secondary trauma is very real. And it’s really important that were here for anyone who needs us.”

Americares is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but it will be closed December 23 through the 26 in support of the holidays.

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