Counselors Available For Evacuees - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

09/15/05 - Lufkin

Counselors Available For Evacuees

by Ramonica R. Jones

Hurricane Katrina has cost evacuees so much. Moms and dads lost their homes and jobs, but what about the littlest evacuees?

Counselors at the Pentecostal campground in Lufkin say they're not too young to understand what's going on around them.

Child psychiatrist Al Arensdorf said, "Kids are just as stessed as their folks but they don't actually talk about it as much. They show it more how they're behaving - a lot of them are having trouble sleeping, a lot of them have trouble separating from their parents. I watched a little boy at dinner time, where other families were trying to reach out to him, be friendly with him, and he clung to his dad's foot. He just couldn't let go of his dad."

But it's not always easy to tell when kids need help, especially after a horrific event. The best thing parents can do is pay attention. It's also important to be supportive and available before and after a tragedy.

"Be with them. Address their security needs [because] it's a time of insecurity. Try to be calm; try to be as reassuring and realistic as you can be with the children and they will respond if they have familiars with them."

Counselors are available onsite, everday, at shelters in Lufkin and Nacogdoches. They're there to help evacuees cope with anger, sadness, stress, and life after the storm.

Counseling is available inside the shelter at the Pentecostal campground. There is also a more private counseling area set up outside the facility.

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