National hotline available to help those still affected by Florence

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Sarah Ruiz is back in the Triangle Thursday after traveling with the Salvation Army of Wake County to Carteret County. 

While in Carteret County, the team served more than 10,000 meals over 10 days to those impacted by Florence. 

“Some it was their first hot meal,” Ruiz said. 

While helping residents and first responders, she said she got a first-hand look at what the storm did in Carteret County. 

“Some of the rooftops were gone. Some of the houses were gone,” she said. “A car crashed into one of the homes. Then, they had to get help and they received help from a local shelter.”

There’s a national hotline to help those still feeling the impacts of Florence.

It’s the Disaster Distress Helpline, which is offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

People can call the helpline at any time at 1-800-985-5990. People can also text TalkWithUs to 66746.

If you call the number, you can get connected to counselors and local resources. The staff members are there to help people deal with stress, anxiety and other common reactions following disasters.

Capt. Maryann Robinson with SAMHSA said that people in North Carolina have already used this resource. She added that people should not be afraid to reach out. This resource could be used by first responders, as well.

“The first responders are oftentimes survivors themselves,” Robinson said. “We also understand first responders in addition to providing community support are often times going to negate self care.”

During the hurricane, Robinson said someone called the helpline to find a relative in North Carolina. The staff member was able to connect the person to a local resource to get an update on the family member.

Those who call will not have to give identifying information.

Find more on the Disaster Distress Helpline here. For more information on how you can donate to the Salvation Army of Wake County, click here.

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