In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Mental Health was awarded a grant to provide behavioral health services to those who are emotionally troubled by the pandemic and Tri-County Mental Health Services has been selected as one of the more than 20 partner agencies throughout the state of Missouri.

Olivia Booher, Tri-County’s Director of Access and Crisis, sees the need for this federal initiative. “Of course, Tri-County is always there to help people in crisis,” she says, “but in these times of extraordinary challenges, FEMA can provide extra outreach and help people access the services they need.”

Funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, this new Crisis Counseling Program will provide crisis counselors to deliver stress management and resource referrals to citizens feeling the stress and emotional strain caused by COVID-19. Titled: Show Me Hope, the behavioral health outreach begins immediately and will focus on assisting building hope and resiliency for the future.

These types of Crisis Counseling Programs traditionally help people recover and rebuild their lives following a disaster – such as a tornado, hurricane, wildfire, etc. With COVID-19, the outreach will be different, but counselors will still offer short-term interventions including:

  • Helping disaster survivors understand their current situation and reactions
  • Reducing stress and providing emotional support
  • Assisting survivors in reviewing their disaster recovering options
  • Promoting the use or development of coping strategies
  • Connecting survivors with other people and agencies who can help them in their recovery process

Show Me Hope follows these key principles that are different from other survivor support programs:

  • Strengths-based: CCP services promote resilience, empowerment and recovery.
  • Anonymous: Crisis counselors do not classify, label or diagnose people. No records or case files are kept.
  • Outreach-oriented: Crisis counselors delivery services in the communities rather than wait for survivors to seek their assistance.
  • Conducted in nontraditional settings: Crisis counselors usually make contact in homes and communities, no in clinical of office settings. During COVID-19, services and outreach will be done using virtual technology.
  • Designed to strengthen existing community support systems: The CCP supplements, but does not end or replace, existing community systems.

Show Me Hope crisis counselors are available to any Missourian experiencing stress or emotional strain due to COVID-19. Citizens may also contact the Disaster Distress Helpline 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week at 1-800-985-5990 or send a text message “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

The group will distribute current information via Facebook here.