Local Red Cross volunteers to help with mental health issues caused by Hurricane Ida

NOW: Local Red Cross volunteers to help with mental health issues caused by Hurricane Ida

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Local American Red Cross volunteers will be heading to the Milwaukee airport Thursday morning, Sept. 9, to fly to Louisiana to assist with the mental health part of the damage left behind by Hurricane Ida. It's a role Red Cross officials say is just as critical as any role in recovery.

Red Cross officials said volunteer efforts of all kinds are needed to address a crisis like this, but not addressing the mental health impact of the crisis can leave lasting damage as well.

"Imagine, you've lost everything you've lost, maybe a family member, lost a pet. You've lost your home, belongings, everything that you've worked for for your whole life," said American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Counselor Deb Hammen.

Hammen is a retired licensed mental health worker.

Thursday morning, she'll be flying to Baton Rouge for two weeks to help people who may be suffering from a variety of mental health issues, like PTSD, in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

"When you suffered such a disaster, it's often hard to start moving forward to heal, and so we're looking for people to help disaster victims do that," said Hammen.

Justin Kern with the American Red Cross said they're always looking for more people like Hammen.

"As people see kind of the need and see people like Deb going out there, making this a priority in their lives to help people, you know, I would hope that other people will be able to join us," said Kern.

He said the need for volunteers in general is very real.

"Whether you're able to help us maybe on that disaster mental health side of things as a volunteer, or we have lots of other great volunteer opportunities, both here, and we can get you trained up to help," said Kern.

Hammen said it can work on your schedule as well.

"You tell them if you want to be deployed. And they will contact you and say 'Okay, we need you,'" said Hammen.

If you're interested in volunteering, you can go to the American Red Cross volunteer page by clicking here.

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