August 29, 2006
Katrina evacuees in Texas experiencing anxiety, anger, depression, insomnia, suicidal thoughts or other mental health problems triggered by the one-year anniversary of the hurricane's landfall and media retrospective reports of that disaster may call a Texas Department of State Health Services toll-free number, 1-866-773-4243, for assistance.
The toll-free service is part of a crisis counseling program administered by DSHS and funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Counselors answering the hotline number can arrange for in-person services through local mental health and mental retardation centers around the state.
The program covers short-term intervention counseling and education services but does not pay for hospitalizations or other long-term mental health treatments.
The program was implemented in early September 2005 and provides similar services for those affected by Hurricane Rita.
A recent Gallup survey conducted for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission found that 251,000 Hurricane Katrina survivors remain in Texas.
( News Media: for more information contact Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, 512-458-7524.)