A pair of professional counselors, one of whom lost her home during Hurricane Katrina, have set up a free weekly support group for Midlands residents affected by the October storm.
Sarah Williams and Kristen Morand of Palmetto Counseling Associates said they are holding the meetings on Wednesday evenings at Christian Life Church on Bush River Road to help address the emotional and mental health needs left unmet after the flooding.
Williams said they offer a forum where residents share their stories and receive support or advice from one another. Flood survivors often experience grief, anxiety, depression and other emotional and mental troubles after a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, she said.
“Both of us felt at the same time that there needed to be an outlet for emotional support,” Williams said.
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Morand said she lost her home in Gulfport, Miss., during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and that it took her the better part of a decade to feel normal again. The recovery process is a marathon, not a sprint, she said.
The group has had small turnouts at the first two Wednesday night meetings, but Williams said the women hope to bring attendance at the 7 p.m. meetings up to 30 residents as word spreads about their free services.
The meetings will continue as long as a significant number of people attend the sessions, Williams said.
Both women are licensed, according to records at the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Registration.
If you go
WHAT: Flood support group
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday nights in January
WHERE: Christian Life Church at 2700 Bush River Road in Columbia