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No one wants to relive the night of October 29, 2012, but some school-age children have no choice: Every time they walk through their front door they remember the rising water that swamped their home and, in some cases, forced them to swim to safety.
Now is the time to heal the traumatic memories of Hurricane Sandy. "If we can give kids the tools to cope with a traumatic experience, research has shown we can prevent long-term mental health issues," explained Garrett Ingoglia, AmeriCares vice president of emergency response.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the hurricane - a disaster that has left so much unmet need in its wake. "Mental health services are often one of the most significant unmet needs after a disaster of this magnitude," said Ingoglia.
To help children, AmeriCares and the YMCA of Greater New York launched a counseling program at two public elementary schools in the hard-hit South Beach and Midland Beach neighborhoods. In Brooklyn, N.Y., AmeriCares worked with Maimonides Infants and Children's Hospital to train pediatricians to identify symptoms of post-trauma mental health issues.
These are just two of the $1.3 million in programs we've funded to meet the mental health and case management needs of Hurricane Sandy survivors. Many of these programs are focused on helping children.
Rimma, a mother of two from South Beach, was anxious to give her two sons an outlet to talk about that horrible autumn night. Her 7-year-old was afraid to return home, fearing another wave would wash their condo away; his 8-year-old brother wants to the family to move. Rimma's children were among the 80 children enrolled in the 12-week program. "I want to help them feel safe," says Rimma.