Hurricane Sandy: A Message from NASW-NYC
We want to acknowledge that we are all affected deeply by the experience of Hurricane Sandy. This is indeed a tragedy. Many people lost their homes, their communities, their livelihoods and face an uncertain future on a most basic level.
We know from other disasters that for many people this experience will be unfolding for a long time, beyond the issues of transportation, electricity and getting "back to normal", as much as we need to resume our everyday lives.
Social workers, just as everyone else, have been directly affected by the impact of Hurricane Sandy and may experience hardships as much as others in the community. We are all affected collectively in the City, and we are all still absorbing what has happened and is unfolding.
We can be mindful that in any disaster such as this, it is common that earlier experiences of stress, loss, disruption, trauma, and previous mass disasterscan be revisited. Remaining aware of how we can be affected can be helpful for ourselves and for the integrity of our work.
Importantly, we need to provide opportunities to listen to the experiences of our clients and disaster survivors. Listening is a fundamental form of support. In addition, offering safety and calm, creating connections, and expressing respect for self efficacy is essential.
And in our communities we can reach out to neighbors, including shop keepers, building personnel, and those who need extra help at this time of disaster, including younger people, older people and people with special needs.
We also need to care for ourselves, colleagues, co-workers, staffs, supervisees, and students, stay connected and be available to others.
As individuals and as a profession, we are also remarkably resourceful and resilient. As we move forward, we should stay connected, for ongoing support and as a foundation to our next steps ahead.
Volunteer If You Can
Certainly, many social workers want to help out in a time such as this, beyond one's regular job, and often when time is available to do so. There are a variety of opportunities. Several are listed below.
Licensed social workers can volunteer through the City's Medical Reserve Corp, or you can initiate a range of involvements with the American Red Cross. More information is provided below. You will need to contact them to find out what their requirements are for volunteering, including whether and what training is required.
The City's Medical Reserve Corp
The following is a recent statement from the City. Please check to learn if this is current: Right now the City is asking for volunteers to support their efforts to staff emergency shelters. If you are a clinician and are able to volunteer to provide disaster mental health support within the City's Evacuation Shelters which have been opened in response to Hurricane Sandy, follow the instructions below.
The first thing to do is register with the Medical Reserve Corp's (MRC). You do this by simply clicking here and going to the log in now button. That will take you to a registration page where you follow the instructions to register for an account. (This takes approximately 5 minutes.) Once you have completed the enrollment process with MRC, call the DOHMH Call Center at 1-347-396-7950 to confirm your eligibility, learn of a suitable assignment, and schedule your shift.
Martha Adams Sullivan, DSW
Robert Schachter, DSW, LMSW
Madelyn Miller, PhD, LCSW
Chair, Disaster Trauma Committee