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White Plains Residents Still Coping With Emotions From Irene

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – With the one-year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene approaching, Damyn Kelly attended  a program Tuesday evening at the White Plains Library designed to help residents cope with issues lingering from the storm.

The program was offered by Project Hope , which was created by the New York State Office of Mental Health and the Federal Emergency Management Association last October to help residents with the normal feelings of stress and emotional distress after the storm and the flooding.

“This is a good reminder that as important as it is to take care of others, it’s also important to take care of ourselves,” said Kelly, executive director for an emergency services organization in Newark, N.J.

After the Aug. 28 tropical storm left his basement flooded and trees down in his yard, Kelly said he didn’t know what to do or where to go.

“At the time, there was no one to speak with about what to do,” he said.

Dan Mancini, a team leader for Project Hope, compared the experience of a tropical storm with a car crash. “You don’t feel hurt because adrenaline kicks in, but a few weeks days later you realize, ‘I’m hurt.’”

Mancini presented several stress management techniques, which begin with confronting your emotions.

“If you acknowledge it, rather than trying to avoid it, you’ll understand why you feel this way. You experienced a hurricane, you experienced a trauma; you experienced loss,” he said.

Mancini also presented several relaxation tips, including:

  • deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation;
  • maintain a healthy and active lifestyle;
  • exercise, nutrition and sleep;
  • visualization and imagery;
  • meditation;
  • schedule time for yourself;
  • stay organized;
  • keep anger under control;
  • share your feelings;
  • write about stress; and
  • get professional help, if needed.

Project Hope also offers free and anonymous crisis counseling for victims of Tropical Storm Irene. Anyone who wishes to learn more about the services, call 914-345- 5900, Ext. 7543.

Project Hope will hold offer this program on Aug. 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church on 168 W Boston Post Road in Mamaroneck.

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