The recent Kaua‘i flood is affecting families not only in terms of their housing and property needs, but also through lingering emotional reactions for many family members of all ages. The emotional aftershocks of the event are real and normal and can require time to process, and sometimes a helping hand of support.
To help those who are having a hard time coping with the impacts of the flood or families who are worried about the effects of the event on their children, local nonprofit Child & Family Service (CFS) is offering free, one-on-one counseling services. The free services are being made possible through the Kauai Relief and Recovery Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation.
CFS will have professional counselors on site throughout the month of May at Hale Halawai Ohana O Hanalei. Families are welcome to walk in to meet with counselors at the Hanalei community center at 5299 Kuhio Highway from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, families can also call CFS Kaua‘i at 808-245-4195.
According to Novelyn Hinazumi, CFS Director of Kaua‘i Programs, after a disaster or traumatic event like the recent flood, it is important for families to take care of their emotional health, and to pay attention to how family members, especially children, are feeling and acting.
”After a disaster, it’s important to take care of your emotional health, and to pay attention to how you and your family members are feeling and acting.” Hinazumi said. “Adults should make time to unwind and connect with supports such as friends, families and community services.”
Parents and caregivers can also help children overcome these experiences and start the process of recovery, she added. “CFS counselors can help parents to identify signs of the effects of trauma, such as changes in sleeping and eating patterns, and ways to help them that include keeping normal routines or making new ones together.”
“Give yourself and your children time to heal from the experience,” Hinazumi advises. “There is no right or wrong way to respond. Over time, family members should see a reduction in the overwhelming feelings. If further assistance is needed, our counselors can also help families to connect with additional CFS or community resources.”