May 29, 2020
With the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is certain: help and support for anybody affected directly or indirectly is here through “Texans Recovering Together.”
It’s a program funded through a short-term relief grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that utilizes crisis counselors to meet needs of individuals or groups in non-traditional settings in the community.
Services are anonymous and designed to promote resilience, empowerment, and recovery — as well as being designed to strengthen existing community support systems. These free services are being offered statewide through various local agencies.
Here in Central Texas, the Heart of Texas Region MHMR offers these attainable, caring, and responsive support services in McLennan, Hill, Bosque, Falls, Limestone and Freestone counties. The program is in its early stages statewide and locally.
“We’re adding staff right now,” says Vince Erickson, the local Texans Recovering Together program director. “We have goals of reaching out to people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, assess their emotional needs, and provide emotional support, education and connection to familial & community support systems.”
Erickson stressed Texans Recovering Together supports short-term interventions that involve these goals:
• Helping disaster survivors understand their current situation;
• Reducing stress and providing emotional support;
• Assisting Survivors in reviewing their disaster recovery options;
• Promoting the use of development of coping strategies; and
• Connecting survivors with other people and agencies who can help them in their recovery process.
“Our staff will also be equipped with brochures, flyers tip sheets and educational materials to give to people who want to have something in their hands,” Erickson says. “We are also developing digital information anybody can access on-line.”
He added the local outreach-oriented staff are Central Texans and are sometimes coping with their own reactions to the pandemic but are ready to provide a certain means of support during this uncertain time.
If anybody needs immediate assistance, you can call the Crisis Hotline toll free: (866) 752-3451
If anybody has questions about the program, you can call the following local number: (254) 297-7017
If you have questions related to data reporting or items related to the CCP grant itself, contact Paulette Supria, Paulette.Supria@hhsc.state.tx.us; 512-368-0490