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Support For The Mental Health Needs Of Fire Victims

The charred husk of a car in a neighborhood burned in the Santiam Fire near Gates, Ore., Sept. 9, 2020.
The charred husk of a car in a neighborhood burned in the Santiam Fire near Gates, Ore., Sept. 9, 2020.

The loss of life was small, but the loss of homes was widespread in the September fires in the region. And living to tell the story of escape is not the same thing as living well.

The trauma of losing a home can manifest as stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. FEMA works in tandem with other federal agencies to see to the needs of fire survivors, even their mental health needs.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, pronounced "samsa") offers a Disaster Distress Helpline for adults and children at 800-985-5990, and in-person crisis counseling in disaster zones. Crisis Counselor Maryanne Robinson from SAMHSA and Nate Custer from FEMA visit with details.

Note: in addition to the 800-985-5990 helpline, you can also TEXT, by sending the message "talkwithus" to 66746.

FEMA centers are still open at Central Medford High School and the old Glide Middle School, and FEMA help is also available at 800-621-3362 and at disasterassistance.gov.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. John Baxter is the senior producer, Angela Decker is the producer and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.