The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a national
public service campaign last month to encourage the estimated 500,000
hurricane survivors and rescue workers who may need mental health assistance
to seek professional help.
The public service announcements (PSAs), created through a partnership of
HHS's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and
the Ad Council, consist of television and radio advertisements.
"Most hurricane survivors demonstrate remarkable resiliency and will
rebuild their lives without significant mental or substance abuse
issues," SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie, M.A., said. "We also
know that there is a smaller but still significant number of people who will
have difficulty achieving recovery without professional assistance. Help is a
phone call away."
The PSAs aim to reach adult victims and first responders directly, as well
as parents and caregivers of children. Viewers and listeners are encouraged to
take time to check in on how they and their families are doing. Adults and
parents with concerns are instructed to call (800) 789-2647, while first
responders may call (800) 273-TALK. Trained professionals at those numbers
will provide information and referrals to local services.
The campaign also targets out-of-state aid workers who have since returned
"They are going to go back to their homes, and then the suffering is
going to hit them," said Col. Jerry Sneed of the New Orleans Homeland
Security Office. He said he has been called by many aid workers who worry they
did not do enough to help.
The ads will be available for the media to use indefinitely, said a SAMHSA
Additional information on the campaign and the PSAs are posted at<www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/disasterrelief>.▪