Distress hotline available for storm victims

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the state Department of Public Welfare announced Thursday that a disaster distress hotline is available to help people who have stress stemming from severe weather and power outages that are expected to last into the weekend.

The phone number, 1-800-985-5990, is available to all Pennsylvanians to help ease the stress from severe weather damage caused by Wednesday's ice and snow storm.

The TTY number for deaf or hearing impaired individuals is 1-800-846-8517. Help is also available by texting 66746.

According to a joint news release from PEMA and DPW, signs of stress may include any of the following physical and emotional reactions:

– sleeping too much or too little;

– stomachaches or headaches;

– anger, feeling edgy or lashing out at others;

– overwhelming sadness;

– worrying a lot of the time;

– feeling guilty, but not sure why;

– feeling like you have to keep busy;

– lack of energy or always feeling tired;

– drinking alcohol, smoking or using tobacco more than usual;

– using illegal drugs;

– eating too much or too little;

– not connecting with others;

– feeling like you won't ever be happy again; and

– rejecting help.

Trained professionals will take phone calls to provide emotional support for callers.

All calls are strictly confidential.


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