Two Years Later Sandy Survivors Cope With Emotional Distress By Signing Up For iHelp: Sandy Stress Relief
Two years ago, on October 29th, Superstorm Sandy made landfall and forever changed the lives of New Yorkers and residents from the surrounding areas. During an emotional, yet informative press conference on the storm’s anniversary, MHA-NYC announced its efforts to help Superstorm Sandy survivors recover from emotional distress with the launch of iHelp: Sandy Stress Relief, an online mental health program, available free-of-charge, designed to help users cope with common mental health challenges associated with a natural disaster.
Superstorm Sandy’s anniversary reminded us of how much was lost and how much still needs to be done to recover. “I know I lost a little bit of my mind when Sandy happened,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, who suffered damage to both his home and office. “We don’t know how long the mental health challenges will linger. However, the longer we wait to address them, the worst off we will be as a community,” he said to a packed room of residents and community-focused organization leaders in Far Rockaway, an area hit hard by Sandy.
YANA Services, Inc. Director Salvatore Lopizzo hosted the event and emphasized why iHelp: Sandy Stress Relief is valuable service. “This program utilizes technology in a way that engages users to be open about what they are feeling in a way that may be difficult if they were forced to engage with someone in person,” he said. “This is a perfect example of how technology can do more good than harm.” iHelp: Sandy Stress Relief is available anytime, anywhere there is internet access, 24/7, 365.
Other speakers included Steve Rabinowitz, Downstate Field Operations Director of New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, Dr. Edward Williams, Executive Director & CEO of Ready Rockaway, Inc., and Melissa Trentadue, Supervisor of Catholic Charities Brooklyn/Queens Disaster Response Management.
Following the program, Melany Avrut, Program Manager of iHelp: Sandy Stress Relief led a demonstration and tutorial of the service and helped community residents sign up.