Coney Island

City offers mental health help to young Sandy victims

May 20, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The ad campaign seeks to raise public awareness of the services available to victims of Superstorm Sandy. Photo courtesy NYC Dept. of Health

Many of Superstorm Sandy’s youngest victims are still suffering, more than two years after the devastating hurricane, according to officials at the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. They have launched an ad campaign aimed at letting parents know that help is available for their children.

The Dept. of Health (DOH) launched the ad campaign on Monday to remind residents of hard-hit neighborhoods like Coney Island that free mental health services are available for children and adolescents. Mental health evaluation and treatment can be provided for free through the NYC Child and Adolescent Resiliency Enhancement Services (NYC CARES) program.

The NYC CARES program is available at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in the Rockaways and the Staten Island Mental Health Society on Staten Island.

The DOH ads, which have been posted in bus shelters in Sandy-affected neighborhoods, will run for two months.

“Some New Yorkers in the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy suffered great losses, including the loss of their homes, jobs and other significant resources,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the city’s health commissioner. “These losses can be especially devastating to children, though it’s not always easy to know if your child is having difficulty coping. If you think your child may be having symptoms of post-traumatic stress after the storm, I urge you to reach out for free services today.”

The city’s First Lady, Chirlane McCray, who has made mental health the cornerstone of her public life, said her husband Bill de Blasio’s Administration is committed to making sure children and adolescents affected by Superstorm Sandy can get the help they need.

“To seek help for symptoms of post-traumatic stress is a good first step to healing. We want to make sure our children get the continuing support they need,” she said.

One-third of people impacted by a disaster have signs of post-traumatic stress, according to DOH. Since April of 2014, 35 percent of children screened by the NYC CARES showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Mental health treatment, including therapy, can reduce symptoms and help children manage their emotional responses, according to DOH. At Coney Island Hospital, services are available for New Yorkers ages 3-21. The free services include 10-12 sessions of therapeutic intervention that reduces many of the symptoms associated with post-disaster mental health concerns, officials said.

The NYC CARES program is provided through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Call 311 to find out how to participate in NYC CARES. For more information about NYC CARES program, visit www.nyc.gov.

 

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