Help is available for Minot-area residents experiencing lingering stress from the 2011 flood or from the life changes that have followed.
The Village Family Service Center of Minot is offering two free counseling programs for people with on-going emotional and relationship issues that have stemmed from or have been aggravated by circumstances related to the flood.
"Change is a huge stressor for people," said Joanne Jandro, a licensed professional clinical counselor who will be providing services. "The essence of resilience is to recover from crisis and forge that new life."
Photo by Jill Schramm
Joanne Jandro, licensed mental health counselor, and Barb Fix, regional program director, talk about available post-flood counseling programs at The Village Family Service Center Thursday.
Criteria to receive services are flexible for both programs. Both are free to people at any income level. One program is open to all ages while the second is a short-term, transitional program for children and young people.
The program providing post-flood counseling can assist with problems such as family conflict, marital and other relationship issues, on-going sadness or regret, financial anguish and difficulty in coping with changes in the community or family. Some people may have moved on from the flood itself but face post-flood concerns such as increased alcohol or drug use or truancy in children.
Services are available to residents whose homes were affected by the flood and to those who may be indirectly affected in their personal lives or work. Professionals who assist flood victims are eligible to receive counseling for their stress as are those who have taken in displaced family members. The stress can be particularly heavy on families when elderly members are displaced, Jandro said.
"The stress on caregivers can really mount up. They are so used to giving, they don't think about their own needs," she said.
Jandro joined The Village in January. She comes to Minot from Williston and has a number of years of previous experience in providing mental health counseling in Minnesota. She can provide in-office counseling or in-home counseling within a 12-mile radius of Minot.
Jandro said too often people resist seeking help, thinking they can handle problems on their own. Some mistakenly believe they would be taking free services away from others who may need them more, she said.
Just the fact that services are free may create some skepticism, and rightly so, she said. However, there is no catch with this program.
"This is here because somebody cared enough about this area to provide this financial support," Jandro said.
The counseling program is being funded by donors who asked to remain anonymous.
The grant program runs through March 2014.
The Minot Area Community Foundation is funding the program for children affected by the flood, called Standing Tall and Recovering Strong, or STARS. The program provides a counselor to work with a youth up to age 17. The goal is to assist the family and promote the child's emotional well-being. Areas that might be addressed include stress related to temporary housing, joining a new school or child care, anger, depression, truancy, substance abuse and family and peer conflict.
The free service includes up to six hours a month for four months. During that time, a counselor may engage a child through activities such as going to a movie or the park, helping with homework struggles and promoting extra-curricular activities.
The child must be within a 12-mile radius of Minot but other qualifying criteria is flexible. Jenny Hills with The Village is providing counseling services.
The program projects to reduce stress, depression and problem behaviors in 70 percent of children participating. Additional services are available if children need more help, including the post-flood counseling program.
Barb Fix, regional program director for The Village in Minot, said an aim of the STARS program is to determine whether children or families need additional services and refer them where necessary. She noted that The Village has other free programs to assist families that are separate from flood-related programs.
The Village's services do not include direct financial assistance, although its financial resource center can assist with money management.
Fix said there should be no stigma to seeking help. Rather, doing so provides good role modeling for children.
"It's OK to reach out for help when you need it," Fix said.
To learn more about any of the services, people can contact The Village at 852-3328.