American Red Cross volunteer counselor helps families in Maui

Published: Oct. 9, 2023 at 5:14 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - When the worst happens, helpers start to find their way to families in need.

The American Red Cross shows up in the midst of major disasters. Volunteers go where they are needed — in this case Maui; to provide basic needs, shelter, food, and a place to sleep.

“I was part of the first wave to get there,” said Amy Stevens with the American Red Cross. “What happens immediately after a major disaster like this one, is that there is total chaos. Our job is to help bring the calm.”

There are crews providing basic necessities and there are people like Stevens providing counseling to people in need.

“Right after a really bad thing happens they are kind of in shock. They don’t know what to do. They barely know where they are,” said Stevens.

The American Red Cross believes Mental health support is part of providing “immediate help” to families in need in disaster zones.

“People need to talk to people when they are going through hard times and that is exactly what an American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health person does,” said Stevens. “It is psychological first aid. Once we get them to a safe place and we can actually engage with them, our job is not to fix everything because we can’t, and there is nothing we can say that will change what happened but maybe we can give them hope.”

“Yes you are in shock, yes it is very difficult, yes it is going to take some people longer than others, but most people are going to be able to overcome the tragedy that just happened. Part of what we do is help them realize that,” she added.

To learn more or get connected with the American Red Cross, click here.