The tens of thousands of people affected by Hurricane Harvey will be contending with more than rebuilding their homes, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Homelessness – whether temporary or long-term – the loss of family members, livelihoods, precious belongings and pets will take a mental health toll on people as they attempt to pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward.

No quick solution

When the flood waters recede “is when the real impact on behavioral and mental health will begin to be felt,” said APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD.

“Having experienced many hurricanes and having provided emergency mental health care to hurricane survivors, I have witnessed the complexities associated with recovery from devastating storms. There is no easy or quick solution to the destruction and subsequent loss associated with something as catastrophic as Harvey. Healing — both physically and mentally — will take a long time."

Counseling offered

Puente said members of the APA’s Disaster Resource Network have been dispatched to Texas and Louisiana to “offer psychological counseling on the ground.”

One bright spot: “We have been humbled by the many acts of kindness we have seen and are hopeful that this spirit of community will persist long after the storm has passed.”