RED BANK – A generous grant from the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund means the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County (MHA) will be able to continue meeting the mental health needs of Sandy-impacted families and individuals through June 2015.
Free counseling, information and referral services for those who may still be struggling with trauma related stress reactions due to Super Storm Sandy will now be provided in Red Bank at the Red Bank Resource Network (RBRN) at 101-103 Shrewsbury Ave.
Post-Katrina studies demonstrated the need for health care professionals and policy makers involved in future disasters to anticipate and deal with both the mental and physical health problems of those affected. It was noted that after the initial crisis had been addressed, many of these mental health problems that may not have been present initially, began to come to the surface.
Most survivors of trauma return to normal in a relatively short period of time. However, some people will have stress reactions that do not go away on their own. Those that go untreated tend to only become worse. Time, coupled with counseling and support services, are the best ways to get survivors back to normal.
“The reason that some people bounce back easier than others is not really known. Those who are still struggling shouldn’t beat themselves up or be told to ‘get over it,’” said Nancy Tighe, Sandy wellness counselor. “Anxiety, anger, depression, confusion, insomnia are some of the symptoms that many people experience after living through a disaster like Hurricane Sandy.
“We are so grateful to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund for recognizing that free mental health services are vital to the recovery of these survivors and providing such a generous grant that will allow us to continue to help those in need,” Tighe said.
RBRN is a community organization seeking to strengthen families and communities by offering bilingual assistance with applications, such as the Affordable Care Act, NJ Family Care/Medicaid, food stamps, housing, utility and even employment. Recently, RBRN was designated a Certified Application Counselor Agency under the Affordable Care Act to assist individuals and families applying for affordable health insurance. In addition, the use of the computers, fax and Internet is provided at no cost in the business center.
RBRN continues to expand services for the youth of Red Bank. Homework club is offered, allowing students to have a quiet workspace, assistance with their homework and use of computers. Through collaboration with the Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, Ocean First Bank and Red Bank Regional High School, teenagers are being offered a four-week banking and saving workshop.
“Providing free services and a friendly bilingual atmosphere for the families and individuals of Red Bank and surrounding areas are our primary goals here at the Red Bank Resource Network,” said Deanna Sovern, coordinator of family resources for RBRN.
“We are greatly appreciative to the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund for providing us with funding that will allow us to expand our free services to now include counseling for those affected by Hurricane Sandy,” Sovern said.
RBRN is a program of the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County.
Additional information about RBRN is available by calling 732-383-5135 or visiting www.rbrnhelps.com. To make an appointment with a Sandy wellness counselor, please call 732-542-6422.