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Focus On Emotional Trauma Continues As Part Of Storm Recovery Efforts

Storm damage at Wagner-Ford Road and I-75.
Jerry Kenney
Storm damage at Wagner-Ford Road and I-75.

The American Red Cross - Dayton Chapter has decreased the number of housing shelters from three to one, as the number of displaced residents from storms almost two weeks ago has dropped.

On Saturday, the Red Cross moved remaining populations of displaced residents at Corinthian Baptist Church and Morton Middle School to Bethesda Temple on Salem Avenue in Dayton.

The organization says the consolidation “allows the Red Cross to concentrate its resources for the remaining shelter residents.”

“Casework for residents staying at Bethesda Temple will continue,” the Red Cross said in a statement Friday. “But work is underway to move these residents onto the next phase of their recovery.”

The Red Cross - Dayton Chapter said they were increasing their focus on emotional trauma as part of the recovery effort.

Other social service organizations are doing they same and warn that emotional trauma is a very real concern for many people affected by the tornadoes that ripped through the Miami Valley on Memorial Day.

Bonnie Parish is the Executive Director for Family Services,  a mental health agency operating in Dayton for more than a hundred years.

“We were here during the flood of 1913, the cholera outbreak, and almost anything that you could imagine that's happened since,” she says, “So, we are familiar with disasters.”

Parish says following a disaster, people will often focus on their immediate needs, including shelter, food, and safety without processing the emotional trauma of the experience.

“You know many people are going to get through this and they're resilient. They're going to come back and they're going to say, ‘this was a disaster and we survived it,’ and they're going to be OK and they'll process it. It's when you get stuck in that process that we want to be there for you, we see it can happen anywhere from, you know, the next day to it could be a year or two where you can start to have a flashback or something.”

Parish urges anyone experiencing emotional trauma to seek help. And, while the organization hasn’t seen an increase in the numbers of people they’re serving following the Memorial Day storms, among the families they currently serve, trauma from the storms is high.

“If you look at TV, it just looks like a war zone,” she says of the images of damage sustained almost two weeks ago. “And the problem is, for example ,with children who see these kinds of things on TV and being able to process with them, we are recommending to families that they talk to their children about what they're seeing and hearing.”

Family Services offers a number of specialized programs for families, individuals, couples and groups. They can be reached at (937) 222-9481.

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.