While Snipp is glad that people are utilizing the service, she said some people are still hesitant to approach them. Some think they don’t need it because they don’t think they suffered enough to warrant counseling. She said some people think that because they only lost a car, and their neighbor lost their whole house, they don’t think they are allowed to complain or feel bad for themselves.
“You did suffer through something and you are having a response to it,” said Snipp. “You don’t have to qualify that.”
For others, it’s the stigma of getting “mental help” that is off-putting. Snipp understands that this stigma exists, but reminds doubters that Project Hope is confidential, and the environment is casual.
“You don’t have to come to an office,” said Snipp. “We can meet wherever you want and just sit down and have a conversation. We’re not here to judge you.”
Project Hope plans to be in Long Beach throughout the anniversary of Sandy. They are waiting on approval for the second phase of the program. As time goes on, victims’ needs change, said Snipp. The second phase will still involve a lot of outreach and counseling, said Snipp, but they may shift more towards hosting support groups, depending on the needs of the community.
“They may not feel they need us now, but hopefully they’ll hold on to our flyer,” said Snipp. “And if they do need us, they’ll pick up the phone. We’re here for them.”
A new addition to the program is a weekly series of group sessions that will tackle self-care, stress management and life skills. They will be held on Mondays, beginning March 4, at 7 p.m. at St. Ignatius Church, 721 West Broadway, and on Wednesdays, beginning March 6, at 7 p.m., at Long Beach High School, 322 Lagoon Drive West.
For more information, or to speak with a crisis counselor, please call Project Hope at the Long Beach Medical Center at 516-897-4326