HOPE4NC Continues to Provide Crisis Counseling and Referrals for People Still Dealing with the Trauma of Hurricane Matthew

Forged out of a partnership between Action Pathways and Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, Hope4NC provides crisis counseling, disaster recovery and relief support, as well as, mental health referrals to Cumberland County residents affected by Hurricane Matthew.  Now a year later, many residents of Cumberland County are struggling to piece their lives back together financially and emotionally. Some folks continue to find it difficult to address the mental and physical reactions commonly associated with disaster, such as; increased stress, anHurricane damage 2.jpgxiety and trauma.

Patrick, a local Cumberland County resident, talked with Hope4NC workers about how he has tried to cope with trauma brought on by the storm and how its impact continues to affect him today. Admitted to having struggled with anxiety all his life, Patrick recognizes it is a challenge he will constantly have to manage, but says his anxiety has worsened since the storm. 

Patrick and his roommate were at home together when Hurricane Matthew happened. During the storm, Patrick and his roommate realized their home was about to flood and, as a result, tried to save some of their most beloved possessions – their pets (along with a few other things). Patrick’s roommate realized they were going to need some extra help getting themselves and their pets out of the soon-to-be flooded home, and went looking for help.

Left alone, Patrick found himself struggling to get his pets to high ground. He had to carry his largest pet the entire time, while wading in chest-deep water. There were moments when he felt like neither his pets, nor himself, would make it out alive.  Without his roommate present to help, Patrick felt overwhelmed and fearful. 

In a panic, Patrick severely injured himself while trying to rescue his pets from the ever-increasing flood waters seeping into his home. Without immediate access to medical attention, and with the increasing pressure of working to salvage personal and household items while injured, Patrick found himself experiencing a severe panic attack. 

Thankfully, after some time, Patrick’s roommate returned with help and together, they were able to get all their pets to safety and salvage a few of their prized personal items and possessions.  Like many displaced residents of Cumberland County, Patrick and his roommate were displaced for several months following the storm, but were able to stay with the same friends who had assisted them during the storm.  Currently,  Patrick has secured a new place of his own after his initial home was much too damaged to return to.

Albeit safe from the wrath of Hurricane Matthew, Patrick did not get away unscathed.  Even after the storm, his anxiety continued to increase, depression continued to intensify and both conditions became harder to ignore.  In fact, these  conditions began to interfere with Patrick’s daily life; to the degree he found it harder to get out of bed and even had trouble going to work regularly.

Hope4NC was able to offer Patrick short-term crisis counseling and referral services during an at-home consultation. Due to the impairment of his daily functioning, Hope4NC workers felt it necessary to provide Patrick with a formal referral during their visit and were able to provide him with critical stress management and coping techniques. By showing Patrick the importance of focusing on his strengths and resiliency, HopeDSC_0012.JPG4NC was able to provide him with the resources and techniques needed to better manage his stress and cope with the physical, mental and emotional aftermath of the storm. 

If you, or someone you know was affected by Hurricane Matthew and are needing disaster related emotional support and/or information regarding local mental health services, please contact the Alliance Behavioral Healthcare 24-Hour Access and Information Line at (800) 510-9132 or visit www.alliancebhc.org. If you live in Cumberland County and are in-need of disaster relief and assistance, contact Hope4NC directly by calling 919-407-2942.

Help someone get the help they need by sharing this story on your Facebook page. We all can be a part of creating positive impacts for our community!