SOLAR program looks to help those affected by Hurricane Michael

The goal is to help people adjust to life after Hurricane Michael.

MARIANNA, Fla. (WTVY) – Recovery after a disaster is more than just rebuilding homes, businesses, and belongings. It’s about recovering mentally as well.

Brenda Alvarado, STEP Lab Manager at the Center for Translational Behavioral Science at Florida State University, discussed the plans and goals for the SOLAR Program in the Florida panhandle during the monthly North Florida Inland Long Term Recovery Group general meeting on Thursday morning. The SOLAR Program is a research study recovery program that is aimed, in this case, at individuals in the Florida panhandle that were affected by Hurricane Michael back in 2018. The goal is to help these individuals adjust to life in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

The program has been used before to assist people affected by disasters, but the program has never been used on those affected by a hurricane until now.

They are currently looking for high-quality volunteers to help those that are struggling to recover emotionally, mentally, or spiritually from traumatic events that occurred during or in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The program is looking for anyone that lived in the Florida panhandle in 2018 and that are 18 years of age. These volunteers will go through a screening process, then a 6-week training process to get started. No prior experience or knowledge with mental health is necessary to become a volunteer. After their work with the program is complete, volunteers will be compensated $200 for their commitment, and asked to participate in a short interview for feedback on how to better provide the program to those that need it.

Anyone looking for more information on the program, or anyone looking to volunteer can e-mail Brenda Alvarado at brenda.echeverri@med.fsu.edu or call at 850-644-4200.

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