Post Hurricane Updates
Two New Mental Resiliency Tools in Response to Hurricane Ian:
1. Peer-Based Family Support Line
2. Online Therapy Through a Partnership with BetterHelp
(1) Peer-Based Family Support Line Available now, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) launched the Family Support Line, which connects individuals and families who were impacted by Hurricane Ian with peers who were impacted and have recovered from Hurricane Michael. Volunteers from the Panhandle will use their personal experiences to provide support, advice and a helping hand to victims of Hurricane Ian. These peers have lived through similar loss and are well acquainted with the road to rebuilding that Southwest Florida is facing. Volunteers will also help direct Hurricane Ian survivors to resources that are available at the state, federal and local level, including information about bridge loans, roof repair, disaster unemployment assistance and disaster SNAP benefits. Individuals who would like to talk with a Family Support Peer can call 888-850-SWFL.
(2) Online Therapy Through a Partnership with BetterHelp The Florida Department of Health (DOH) and DCF have partnered with BetterHelp to offer mental health services through three months of free online therapy to those impacted by Hurricane Ian. To access these free services, Floridians can visit betterhelp.com/voucher and use code: HurricaneIan. BetterHelp will then prompt impacted Floridians with a questionnaire to best match them with a licensed mental health professional.
These initiatives are in addition to a variety of mental health resources that State
Disaster Recovery Mental Health Coordinator Sara Newhouse has gathered for disaster
survivors and first responders. All Floridians can find a list of these resources
at Florida’s Disaster Mental Health Resources webpage. On this page is a survey to provided targeted mental health assistance to first
responders who stepped up to serve on the front lines even if their own home was damaged
in the path of Hurricane Ian.
The new Family Support line will allow families from the impacted areas of Hurricane Ian to access an informal peer support network. Working with the NWF Health Network, volunteers will staff the 888-850-SWFL support line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Peer supports is highly effective in mitigating anxiety and stress for those experiencing trauma. The Family Support Line is fully integrated with the First Lady’s Hope Florida initiative, allowing the peers to connect Hurricane Ian survivors with Hope Navigators depending on their circumstances.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call 988 to be connected to the National Suicide Hotline. If you are experiencing or see a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.
Read the full press release here.
A free legal help hotline is now available for Hurricane Ian survivors. The hotline is available to connect survivors to free legal services in qualifying counties who cannot afford an attorney. Survivors can call (866) 550-2929.
Hotline callers may get help with legal issues like:
● FEMA and SBA financial benefits
● Home repair contracts and property insurance claims
● Re-doing wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster
● Price gouging, scams, or identity theft
● Landlord or tenant problems, or threats of foreclosure
● Disability-related access to federal, state, and local disaster programs
Survivors can call the hotline anytime and leave a message if calling after hours. Hotline partners cannot help in all cases. For example, they cannot take cases where a settlement could include legal fees or an award. But they can refer those cases to other legal help.
For up-to-date information on free legal services for survivors, media members can contact our partners in these languages: Russian , English, Other, Spanish.
The Disaster Legal Services (DLS) program works with state and local partners to provide free legal help for low-income disaster survivors. The service is a partnership between the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, The Florida Bar, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. , Disaster Legal Aid.Org , and United Policyholders .
Qualifying counties can be found at: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4673/designated-areas#individual-assistance
As we navigate through the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, please reference the resources to help assist you and your families with recovery efforts in your local area.
- Supervisors – please be aware that employees may have additional needs for disaster assessment
and recovery; as well as potential stress; both to themselves and their families.
Please escalate any additional needs to the appropriate channels.
- Employees – please reach out to your leaders on your current status and any needs you may have.
Resources have been provided below that may assist in your recovery needs.
Any eligible employees may contact HR Benefits and Leave at the following addresses for additional questions:
firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
Safety will continue to remain at the forefront of all that we do at the University. Please avoid traveling in any areas that were heavily impacted and escalate any concerns you may have to your leader(s).
EAP (Employee Assistance Program) can be reached at (1-800-327-7451) and continues to provide free counseling services and connections to local resources to help you cope with the feelings of fear, sadness, anger and hopelessness related to these kinds of natural disasters.
Guides and Resources
Below are some links to Hurricane guides and resources that may be helpful.
- Hurricane Guide (English)
- Hurricane Guide (Spanish)
- Florida Disaster Guidance https://www.floridadisaster.org/
- FEMA Hurricane Ian Resource https://www.fema.gov/disaster/hurricane-ian
- Search for Help by Zip Code https://www.findhelp.org/?ref=ab_redirect
- Government Hurricane Info https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
- EAP Crisis Resources
These guides have great information, like helping your children recover from the emotional impact of the storm and dealing with finances in the aftermath. They can also help with any needs for food, shelter and clothing.
USF Federal Credit Union
If you have been affected by Hurricane Ian and are in a FEMA-declared disaster area, you may apply for an Emergency Personal Loan online at usffcu.com/personal . You also may contact us to discuss hardship assistance that we have available. Please know that call wait times may be lengthy due to high call volume.
USF Federal Credit Union Call Center hours are:
8am – 6pm EST Monday – Friday
9am – 1pm EST Saturday
Call: 813.569.2000 or 800.763.2005