Hurricane Season and Storm Recovery Can Lead to Chronic Stress

HAZLET, NJ –  Children in an art therapy session at Amanda’s Easel spontaneously call themselves “contractors” as they built homes out of Popsicle sticks. The structures are built on stilts, reinforced with multiple layers and have special play spaces filled with “toys” that were lost in the storm. More than 18 months after Superstorm Sandy,   children are still worried. Adults are stressed. People continue to deal with their financial and emotional recovery causing chronic stress that can lead to the breakdown of relationships and families.

Superstorm Sandy is only a memory of inconvenience for some brought into consciousness with heavy rain and wind. Others continue to watch their neighborhood landscapes change before their eyes due to storm damage.  Whether your impact was minimal or extreme, 180 Turning Lives Around can help children, adults and families cope. 180 is offering free counseling for people impacted by the storm.   Many Monmouth County residents are still experiencing the emotional after-effects of Sandy, such as difficulty sleeping; nightmares; worry, anxiety difficulty concentrating at work or school; and struggling with ongoing loss.


Among the services offered by 180 are individual and group counseling, family sessions, art therapy, trauma- informed counseling, and case management to connect people with needed resources. All services are provided by licensed clinicians with expertise in trauma, loss and disasters, and are confidential and free of charge.

Group and individual sessions for adults are held at various locations throughout Monmouth County. Children, ages 5 and up, and their families can participate in an art therapy program in the Middletown area called “Creative Coping,” which focuses on age-appropriate, child-centered means of developing coping skill and resiliency.

“Our goal is to assist the community with the lingering effects of the storm and help build healthy families,” said Cindi Westendorf, Amanda’s Easel Program Coordinator. “We have been successful in helping several families cope with natural and man-made disasters since 9/11. Our work with families affected by domestic violence has allowed us to develop unique and effective ways to work with trauma.“

For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 180 Turning Lives Around at 732-264-4111 for individual services for adults and teens; and 732-787-6503 for individual or group services for children and families.