Project H.O.P.E. addresses mental health concern following Michael

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG) - Mental health has been a major concern in our area after Hurricane Michael, but many organizations have stepped in to help. For this week's Everyday Heroes, we take a look at Project H.O.P.E., a nationwide disaster recovery group.

Project Hope is a disaster recovery group. (WJHG)

Immediately following Hurricane Michael, with help from the Life Management Center, Project H.O.P.E., or Helping Our People in Emergencies, came to the panhandle.

"It's a disaster recovery group that is working in our community in a lot of different areas, just helping those who have gone through Hurricane Michael, checking on them, seeing how they are doing, helping them with things that may be stressors in their life," Life Management's Community Relations Specialist Tricia Pearce said.

The group is funded by FEMA and other organizations to bring in health care workers to address mental health concerns. Counselors are here to work with anyone who needs help. The organization is also working with kids.

"Introducing the idea of coping skills because you have to have some sort of healthy outlet to cope with everything. So we are making it in to something fun," Project H.O.P.E. Disaster Recovery Counselor Cathy Baker-Ramsay said.

Project H.O.P.E. is working with organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of Bay County. Kids get to make crafts and projects to express their feelings.

"We are hoping they gain some coping skills and to verbalize when they are in distress, that the main focus of it to seek out help and also use the coping skills when they need them," Disaster Recovery Counselor Project H.O.P.E. Cynthia Collyer said.

Project H.O.P.E. worked with the Boys and Girls Club in their after school program and now counselors are visiting their summer camps.

"This actually brings something more, it actually slows things down a little, gives kids opportunities to engage in certain things, like coloring, puzzles, that really them focus inward," Boys and Girls Club of Bay County CEO Hank Hill said.

These everyday heroes are focusing on helping the panhandle recover after Hurricane Michael and plan to be here through February.

Project H.O.P.E. has helped more than 15,000 people since Hurricane Michael.

If you are in need of services: call (850)-522-4485 Ext.1840
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