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Partnering to Help People Cope with Post-Sandy Stress

Partnering to Help People Cope with Post-Sandy Stress.
"The program was really uplifting."

Many New Yorkers continue to experience intense, stress-related emotions related to stress caused by Superstorm Sandy. Thanks to the generosity of donors, the American Red Cross is helping address these needs through grant funding to nonprofit partners providing mental health support.

Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) is one of those partners. Every day, licensed clinical social workers are working one-on-one with people through a free ten-week program funded by the Red Cross. Recently, VNSNY has also begun to host a series of hour-long, post-disaster workshops.

“The workshops give people the chance to come in, learn some techniques and tips, and have some takeaways,” said Dr. Kerry Symon, VNSNY’s director of the Disaster Distress Response Program. “They also give people the opportunity to test the waters and see what the larger program is about. Then they can decide if they want to join the in-home program.”

On Thursday, May 1, almost two dozen people gathered at the Sandy Resource Center in New Dorp Beach on Staten Island. Angela Toscano, a resident of Midland Beach, Staten Island, was one of the people attending the free event. Toscano went through the ten-week program earlier this year, but came to the workshop to refresh her memory.

“The program was really uplifting,” Toscano said. “At times when I had lost hope and had no one to turn to, I was able to find the strength to hold on and pull out of it.”

Visiting Nurse Service of New York plans to schedule additional free workshops in Sandy-affected areas.

On July 15, 2014, a free workshop is scheduled for the North Babylon Public Library, 815 Deer Park Avenue, North Babylon, New York. The event begins at 10:00 am and is open to the public.

If you or a loved one has been affected by Sandy and need emotional support, you can call Visiting Nurse Service of New York at 718-888-6955.

Click here to read about a recent announcement of additional Red Cross funding to address mental health needs of people affected by Sandy.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.