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April 10, 2008

Governor Blagojevich announces crisis counseling services for area flood victims
FEMA grant to provide services for flood victims in Iroquois and Livingston Counties

SPRINGFIELD-- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Division of Mental Health was awarded $33,800 from the federal government for crisis counseling services for flood victims in Iroquois and Livingston counties. 

“Dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster and losing personal belongings causes a lot of stress for people,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “It is important that crisis counseling is available as flood victims try to recover and get their lives back to normal.”  

On January 9, Gov. Blagojevich declared Iroquois and Livingston counties state disaster areas due to the flooding of the Iroquois and Vermilion Rivers.  Sugar Creek, which runs through Watseka, also contributed to the flooding.  Two of the hardest hit towns were Watseka and Pontiac.  More than 535 residents were evacuated from 230 homes.  The counties received a federal disaster declaration in March.

IDHS was awarded the $33,800 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The crisis counseling grant will provide funds to the Iroquois Mental Health Center to establish a crisis counseling team to work with flood victims.

Services will include individual and group crisis counseling, public education, assessment, referral services, community networking and support.  The grant also includes funding for public awareness and educational materials. 

“Psychological effects of a natural disaster of this type often don’t show up until months after the event,” said Lorrie Rickman Jones, Director of the DHS Division of Mental Health. “We want people to know crisis counseling is there for them now and in the future.”

Iroquois and Livingston County residents who are victims of flooding can get more information on the crisis counseling program by calling the Iroquois Mental Health Center at 815-432-5241.




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