In the days and weeks after a disaster like Hurricane Ian, it’s often up to local nonprofits and mental health professionals who are volunteering their time to step in and provide support for people who have been impacted. Now, for the first time ever, Florida’s State Emergency Response Team — or SERT — is supporting a program to assemble a group of mental health professionals including therapists, counselors, and massage therapists to work directly with residents and first responders who are still in the midst of recovery work.
This SERT Mental Health & Wellness Field Unit got up and running last week on Sanibel to be there for residents as they returned to the island. It is initially comprised of mostly locals, but they are working to expand it in the weeks ahead.
And, while it is currently focused on Sanibel the mission includes all of Lee County so they’re hoping to reach other parts of Southwest Florida in the future.
We learn more about how it came together and the work they’re doing with two people instrumental in its forming and foundation.
Click here to submit an application if you are interested in volunteering your talents to help this team.
WGCU is your trusted source for news and information in Southwest Florida. We are a nonprofit public service, and your support is more critical than ever. Keep public media strong and donate now. Thank you.