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HomeNewsLocal newsCommunity Resiliency Project Gives Free Counseling to V.I. Residents

Community Resiliency Project Gives Free Counseling to V.I. Residents

Renae Elwood, left, and Khefren Sackey at the St. Croix office of the Community Resiliency Project. (Submitted photo)

Stressful situations experienced by adults and children can be addressed through confidential services offered by a crisis counselor over the phone or via Zoom at The Community Resiliency Project, which is available for free to support residents across the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The project is a short-term mental health assistance and training initiative available for residents of the territory through a grant awarded to the V.I. Department of Health.

The goal of this initiative is to assist individuals and communities in recovering from the effects of natural and human-caused disasters.

“We know it is very difficult working from home and dealing with virtual schooling for our students, and we understand that the increase of numbers (of COVID-19 cases) are anxiety-provoking,” said Community Resiliency Project Coordinator Keila Medina on St. Croix.

“We have two crisis counselors, Renae Elwood and Khefren Sackey on-island who are available to the community on a daily basis. Project Manager Maudlyn Mack is in contact with government and private agencies providing information about the project.”

The crisis counselors will conduct support and outreach services, sharing helpful tips and coping strategies to assist individuals as they continue to process the ongoing pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding it, Monday through Saturday until Dec. 31, Medina said.

Counselors have checked in on individuals since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing them with handouts on coping and destressing. The face-to-face public outreaches meet the safety regulations as outlined by DOH, Medina said.

According to the Community Resiliency Project news release, the team provides virtual sessions for coping with stress for various entities.

There will be St. Croix virtual support groups on Fridays, 10 a.m. to noon.

On St. Croix, the first outreach session was held on Tuesday and additional sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17 at Plaza Extra West and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 22 at Kmart West. Virtual support groups will be Friday, 10 a.m. to noon. Zoom meeting 979 628 6294 password 12345.

For St. Thomas-St. John residents, a session for seniors will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 18 and one for caregivers from noon to 5 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 19, outreach sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Lockhart Gardens Kmart and Tutu Park Mall, and at The Fruit Bowl from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be virtual support groups on Zoom for St. Thomas-St. John Tuesdays at 5 p.m., as well as three on Friday December 18: one for seniors at 10:30 a.m. and meetings for caregivers at noon and 5 p.m. The Zoom meeting ID is: 859 7434 4134. No password is required.

STT/STJ virtual support groups on Tuesdays at 5 p.m.; Dec. 18, Virtual  support for seniors, 10:30 a.m.; caregivers, 12 p.m. and 5p.m.; Outreach at KMart in Lockhart Gardens and KMart in Tutu Park Mall, Dec. 19, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.; Fruit Bowl, Dec. 19, 11 a.m. -1 p.m.

Community Resiliency Project counselors have presented to government agencies, including the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.

Community Resiliency Project also hosts monthly groups with students at Operation Inspire, an after-school program. Most of the presentations made are via Zoom. Students, parents, agencies, staff and personnel have learned about coping with “the new normal,” stress management and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, Medina said.

More information, including upcoming workshops, can be found at the Community Resiliency Project Facebook page.

Island Therapy Solutions supports the Community Resiliency Project for St. Croix residents, and Insight Psychological Services provides support to the Community Resiliency Project for St. Thomas and St. John residents.

Island Therapy Solutions is a multidimensional mental health provider offering psychological services including individual and group therapy, neuropsychological evaluations, psychiatric services, physical, occupational and speech-language therapies, adult autism services and pediatric Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy. Further information for St. Croix services is available by calling 340-719-7007.

Insight Psychological Services is a mental health practice, offering therapy, assessment, psychiatry services, medication management, group therapy, individual and family therapy, couples counseling and psycho-educational testing for ADHD, learning disabilities and other mental health and academic challenges. More information for St. Thomas services is available by calling 340-774-2228.

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