Hurricane Sandy: One Year Retrospective

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Hurricane Sandy ravaged our state, leaving hundreds of thousands without power for days and even worse, too many were left homeless. This is a storm that affected almost all of us in New Jersey in some way. In fact, almost half of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey staff was personally affected. But the true lasting legacy of Hurricane Sandy will be the amazing ways in which our citizens from across the nation came together to help their fellow man in need. As is always the case in times of tragedy, Americans rise to the occasion to be there for each other.

Unfortunately, that is not the only lasting legacy of Hurricane Sandy.

Post traumatic stress disorder is medical concern that causes a person to suffer severe bouts of depression, especially after a particularly tragic event, much like Hurricane Sandy. Symptoms can show in a person anytime from immediately after the event to up to a year after. To cope with this depression, many sufferers will turn to substance abuse as a means to an escape.  This greatly concerned us at the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

To do our part in Sandy recovery, we launched the “Waves of Hope” campaign, in conjunction with the New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. “Waves of Hope” is a campaign designed to get mental health and substance abuse help to those who desperately need it.  We complied a comprehensive list of statewide resources that can easily be accessed by anyone who seeks it.  We believe that seeking help isn’t something to be ashamed of, nor should it be difficult to do.

We held a press conference announcing the launch of this campaign on Memorial Day Weekend.  With the help of our media partners, we were able to blanket the state in the form of bus and train signs and billboards, with the hope that anyone who came across the imagery was inspired to spread the word to those who they felt needed it. “Waves of Hope” was a success from a numbers standpoint, but the important work that was started is far from over.

I am reminded of one of the participants in the Memorial Day press conference, Reverend Anthony Cavallo. His heart wrenching testimony of his Union Beach home being destroyed by the storm reminded us all why we created “Waves of Hope.” We recognize that his story is one of thousands across the state and that for many people, the story still isn’t over. Many still aren’t in their homes, even a year later. It is important that we continue to help those in need and always remain “Jersey Strong”.

While your home may be destroyed, your life certainly doesn’t have to be.

For more information regarding “Waves of Hope” and the resources it provides, please visit: http://drugfreenj.org/sandyresources/

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