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Crisis Line Set Up for Residents Affected by Eruptions

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The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) is reminding residents and visitors that anyone who has been affected by the recent eruptions and is seeking help in coping with mental or emotional effects, may call the Crisis Line of Hawai‘i toll-free at (800) 753-6879.

At 2 p.m. the view of Fissure 17 looking makai (southward) from Highway 132. USGS Photo

DOH’s Crisis Line of Hawai‘i is available 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week and is staffed with a team of live, local representatives who are trained and experienced professionals able to help individuals in times of a mental health crisis. People who have feelings of stress and anxiety can call the Crisis Line to receive short-term confidential counseling as well as information on available resources.

“Taking steps early to ensure the mental health of you and your family during and after a tragic event can make a difference in the long-run, especially when young children are involved,” said Mark Fridovich, Ph.D., M.P.A., administrator of DOH’s Adult Mental Health Division. “Disasters like the Kilauea lava flow are unexpected and often bring out strong emotions, which is understandable when people are forced out of their homes and into a state of fear and worry. This is why we offer resources like the Crisis Line and hope people take advantage of it during their times of need.”

Additionally, The Parent Line is a free, locally-based, statewide telephone line that provides support, encouragement, informal counseling, information, and referral to callers experiencing concerns about their child’s behavior or who have issues regarding family stresses or questions about community resources. The Parent Line is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact The Parent Line toll-free at (800) 816-1222 or visit http://www.theparentline.org/ to learn more.

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Ongoing evacuations due to the lava flow and the insecurity of not knowing what will happen are a source of stress and anxiety for many people, particularly those in or near areas that have been forced to leave their homes. People responding to the emergency and those with family and friends affected by the lava flow are also likely feeling the effects of stress and anxiety. DOH offers the following guidance to aid in coping during this difficult time:

• Talk to your family members and friends to maintain a strong support system.
• Children are particularly vulnerable, as they have trouble processing what is happening. Help your children by sharing age-appropriate information and being honest.
• Set a good example for children by taking care of yourself.
• Take breaks and unwind periodically and ask for help if you need it.
• Stay informed of the situation by tuning in to local news sources but avoid excessive
exposure to media coverage of the event.

For more resources, visit DOH’s Adult Mental Health Division’s website at http://health.hawaii.gov/amhd/consumer/access/. Additional information and resources can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/index.asp.

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