Need for counseling services increases as fears grow about TS Cindy

Hope Loque (Source: WAFB)
Hope Loque (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Intense winds and crashing waves continue to wallop several spots along the coast as Tropical Storm Cindy marches its way up the Gulf just hours from making landfall.

While the local concern is flooding, many folks who weathered the historic flood in August are downright frightened. "My kids are stressing about flooding again, so I've been talking to them about it," said Hope Loque.

Loque says her kids were devastated ten months ago. Traumatized by the tragedy, she admits they had nightmares following the storm. "My son was dreaming about us dying in a flood and the only one surviving was his sister," said Loque.

Loque took advantage of counseling services for children that were offered through their school. She believes it made a huge difference in helping them cope. "It helped tremendously. My son stopped having his nightmares and my daughter was able to kind of get past the shock of everything," Loque added.

A popular counseling option, Louisiana Spirit, has served people dealing with disaster in the state for quite a while. The boots on the ground approach made it a valuable resource after the August flood, then again during the April tornado outbreak. Funded with federal dollars, the program had to be suspended recently due to a delay in that money.

As calls come in, Michelle Alletto, deputy secretary with the Louisiana Department of Health, says they are doing everything they can to continue the service in other ways. "We've made sure to let people know what is most important is crisis counseling and mental health services are still available to our communities," said Alletto.

For now, anyone who needs counseling is being directed to Capital Area Human Services and a 24-hour Disaster Distress Helpline.

"Everyone can have their plate just a little too full and everyone has a point where they need to reach out and they need to reach out for help," Alletto added.

As Tropical Storm Cindy continues its approach, Loque says from experience, it's vital that those who need help get it. "I couldn't thank them enough for it and I love that they've done it," said Loque.

Anyone who needs information about Capital Area Human Services can click here. The Disaster Distress Helpline can be reached at 1-800-985-5990.

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