Confidential Disaster Distress Hotline Available for Victims of Severe Weather Damage


News for Immediate Release
Feb. 6, 2014

Confidential Disaster Distress Hotline Available for Victims of Severe Weather Damage

Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Department of Public Welfare (DPW) announced that a disaster distress hotline is available to help citizens cope with stress stemming from severe weather and power outages that are expected to last several days.

The phone number, 1-800-985-5990, is available to all Pennsylvanians to help ease the stress related to the circumstances surrounding the severe weather damage caused by the recent ice and snow storm. Trained professionals will take phone calls to provide emotional support for callers. The TTY number for deaf or hearing impaired individuals is 1-800-846-8517. Help is also available by texting 66746.

Signs of distress may include any of the following physical and emotional reactions:

  • sleeping too much or too little;
  • stomachaches or headaches;
  • anger, feeling edgy or lashing out at others;
  • overwhelming sadness;
  • worrying a lot of the time;
  • feeling guilty, but not sure why;
  • feeling like you have to keep busy;
  • lack of energy or always feeling tired;
  • drinking alcohol, smoking or using tobacco more than usual;
  • using illegal drugs;
  • eating too much or too little;
  • not connecting with others;
  • feeling like you won’t ever be happy again; and
  • rejecting help.

All calls are strictly confidential. Counselors can also provide information on how to recognize distress and its effects on individuals and families, tips for healthy coping, and referrals to local crisis centers for additional care and support. 

Media contact:   
Cory Angell, PEMA, 717-651-2169
Kait Gillis, DPW, 717-425-7606