With Your Help, Counselors Can Help Those Impacted Heal After Harvey

Catholic Charities' Counselor Sandra Willett
Catholic Charities’ Lead Community Counselor Sandra Willett, MA, NCC, LPC, LMFT speaks with a client during a counseling session. Willett is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) and is one of the many clinicians within Catholic Charities’ Counseling Services program that helps individuals and families cope with stress and anxiety after Hurricane Harvey.

Because of you, in the months since Harvey, the Catholic Charities’ Counseling Services team has received advanced training and made additional presentations to help those facing mental health challenges as they work to rebuild their lives and find their new normal.

While most people who endured last fall’s record-setting storm will not develop mental health symptoms, a large portion of people directly impacted will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – perhaps months or even years later.

The counseling staff was already helping those effected by trauma prior to Harvey, but because of your support they received advanced training in December focused on “mind-body medicine.”

“Mind-body medicine is based on the understanding that our mind, body and spirit are connected,” said Ernesto C. López, Jr., director of Counseling Services. “The approach brings together the emotional, mental, social and spiritual factors that can relieve stress, improve health and heal trauma.”

Because of your ongoing support, the Counseling Services team has increased its current services to six Catholic parish schools, including both individual and family counseling. The counselors also provided 35 presentations to 449 students on coping strategies to manage post-Harvey distress and had 47 individual consultations with students or teachers.

“Some clients have waited to come in because they’ve been focused on meeting basic needs, and others have been afraid because of the immigration law changes and discussions,” López said. “When people are ready to tackle their post-disaster mental health challenges, we’re here for them.”