COVID-19 coverage graphic

Community Healthcore has begun a free program to help East Texas people and their families recover from the impact of COVID-19.

The Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program is funded by a FEMA grant through the State of Texas.

“It’s a crisis counseling type program for people who have had some difficulty managing their stress related to maybe anxieties about getting the virus or having had the virus, having lost work, experiencing financial difficulties because of it,” said Kim Durham, Program Manager Intake/Aftercare at Community Healthcore. “Any kind of help that we can do related and circling around the COVID-19 crisis situation.”

Community Healthcore serves clients and works with local governments from the Red River south to Lufkin, and from Paris, Canton and Crockett east to the Louisiana state line.

If you or someone you know needs help recovering from the impact of COVID-19, call Community Healthcore at (903) 399-5202 to be connected with a crisis counselor.

The State of Texas applied for the grant when COVID-19 was declared a national disaster, Durham said.

“It’s not unlike programs that have happened when we have tornadoes and FEMA comes in,” she said. “...the biggest one that was what most people remember is when Hurricane Harvey happened in Houston. FEMA also granted a CCP program down there to go door to door knocking on people’s doors that were affected by the hurricane asking how they could help. The tricky thing with this one is it’s not as easy as that. COVID is kind of silent and it’s kind of ubiquitous, it’s everywhere. So we’re trying to get outreach to the community, let people know we’re here for them.”

The program offers short-term counseling. Durham said they will do four to five sessions over the phone, and if somebody needs more than that, they will be referred on to somebody else who can continue helping them.

“We do short term interventions that involve counseling, just crisis counseling and assisting disaster survivors, understanding their current situation and reactions,” Durham said. “Help them mitigate their stress. But we also can connect them with various community resources for if they’re lacking things, like if they’ve lost their job and they’re lacking income and they’re having a hard time with their bills. United Way, other groups like that here in Longview, we have Longview Community Ministries. We get them connected to places like that so that they can also find help in a very practical physical way.”

Durham said that getting out the word about this program is important because a lot of people are unaware of who to call for help.

“The federal and state government have funded us to be able to help, and we just want to reach out and help with the anxiety, we want to help get people connected with the needs that they don’t know where the help is,” she said. “...We support short term interventions that involve counseling goals of assisting disaster survivors and understanding their current situation and reactions. We want to be able to help them manage their stress and review their options for help, and we also want to provide emotional support and teach coping strategies, and link them to individuals or agencies that can help them further.”