Mental health support group launched for Mayfield tornado survivors this week

A tornado survivor support group for those affected by December’s killer storms meets for the first time Thursday in Mayfield.

The first meeting of Project recovery The weekly Graves County Survivor Support Group will be held June 9 at 5 p.m. at the Graves County Baptist Association. The meeting is for those affected by the tornado in Mayfield. Danelle Sams, Mayfield-Graves County Project Recovery team leader, said physical and material needs such as food, water and shelter were met immediately after the disaster, but now is the time to dealing with mental health impacts.

“As we are so many months after the tornado, what we are seeing now are the long-term aftermath of the tornado opening up the emotional and spiritual needs of community members,” Sams said. “People are struggling to get back to their normal daily functioning, struggling to adjust to different aspects of their lives.”

Some of these struggles center around dealing with bad weather or heightened anxiety since the storm. With that in mind, Sams said now is the time to focus on mental and emotional recovery. The support group is an opportunity to come together as a community to share experiences and lean on each other, Sams said. There will be crisis counselors, pastoral counselors, and emotional and spiritual counselors within the support group.

“As we are in the recovery phase, after a post-traumatic incident, now is the time to really focus on the mental well-being of the community and to ensure that those needs are met, just as their immediate needs have. been satisfied in December and January and February,” Sams said.

This event is restricted to those who were in Mayfield and Graves County when the tornado struck, but there are recovery project teams in Fulton and Hickman counties in Clinton and one in Marshall County. Thursday’s event is free and the group plans to provide snacks and drinks.

“It’s a place where you can come and get help,” Sams said. of mental health that is available in this area.

The support group is a judgment-free place, Sams said. Project Recovery is here to support everyone who attends and to listen to everyone’s story.

Spanish interpreters will be available at the event. There will also be support staff in case people cannot find childcare for the night. Sams said the Thursday group isn’t really youth-focused, but they hope to expand into programs like this based on the needs and attendance they see in the future.

“It’s a survivor support group, so we want to make sure people come to this group,” Sams said. “There is no judgement. We are here to support every person who walks through that door. We want to know your story. We want other people to connect through their shared experiences.

Virginia S. Braud